Major new plans for Scarborough’s historic harbour – and there could be a fishing boom

Scarborough Harbour. 
Picture by Gerard Binks.
Scarborough Harbour. Picture by Gerard Binks.

A MAJOR new strategic plan for the future of Scarborough’s historic harbour calls for new development opportunities to be explored and indicates that there could be a resurgence in the town’s dwindling fishing industry.

A report to Scarborough Borough Council’s scrutiny committee, approved yesterday, says the harbour, which is owned by the authority, needs the regeneration of the West Pier, improved facilities for users of the port and potential new retail and commercial operations. It also requires investment in its infrastructure, including piling and protection of the harbour structures corroded by the North Sea, according to the plan.

The harbour, which employs about 150 people in the fishing industry, has a resident fleet of 35 boats and accommodates roughly 300 visits from commercial fishing boats every year.

Council director, Nick Edwards, said the new draft business plan spells out potential developments up to 2022.

He said: “The harbour is intrinsic to the well-being of the local economy and Scarborough community as a whole, and is a key economic driver within the town. Historically it has always changed and adapted to new opportunities and must continue to do so to remain sustainable and successful.”

The council-produced business plan says that cargo trade has ended because modern vessels are too large for the harbour, and commercial fishing has been reduced and rationalised. The majority of the existing fishing boats serve the shellfish industry, but in recent years it has become a popular destination for visiting prawn trawlers and scallop boats.

The number of leisure craft has increased to over 265 berths, with a waiting list for 100 more. The report says the harbour is a key part of Scarborough’s tourist industry, now attracting around five million visitors a year, and worth £500m to the town’s economy.

The plan is set to go before cabinet for approval in September.