Whitby will go to the polls in referendum on housing and split from Scarborough governance

The people of Whitby are set to go to the polls in an unusual referendum-style vote which seeks to control the number of houses being used for holiday accommodation and to split from governance in Scarborough.

Monday, 30th May 2022, 6:00 am

A parish poll taking place between 4 and 9pm on June 13 will ask voters for a yes or no answer to two previously agreed questions.

The first question being posed is “Should all new build and additional housing in Whitby parish be restricted to full-time local occupation as a primary residence only and forever (in perpetuity)?”

The second is “Do you want to stay in the same area committee as Scarborough in the new North Yorkshire unitary council?”

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The people of Whitby are set to go to the polls in an unusual referendum-style vote which seeks to control the number of houses being used for holiday accommodation and to split from governance in Scarborough.

Eight polling stations will be set up around the town where residents can attend to cast their vote in person.

Voting cannot be done by post or proxy and no polling cards are being issued.

Campaigner and former town councillor Joyce Stangoe said: “We need the people of Whitby to come out and vote and support this motion to have new builds for permanent residence.

“We have a second question, which is do people in Whitby want to stay in the same area district as Scarborough? Perhaps it is about time Whitby had a change. It is a totally different town to Scarborough and we need to look at something that is more relevant and perhaps that is in the National Park.”

The poll was demanded at an extraordinary meeting of Whitby Town Council on May 12 which attracted around a hundred people.

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If Whitby people vote yes to the questions, it will be up to Scarborough Council to look at what controls can be put on housing.

However, for the departure from Scarborough, when it comes to governance and legal issues, there is still uncertainty as to how that would work.

Chris Riddolls, of Whitby Town Council, who proposed the questions at the meeting on May 12, said: “At the moment we have not been given an alternative, we are stuck with Scarborough.

“What I would say is I am not happy to be put in an area with Scarborough and don’t want it and we are saying come back with a better plan.”

It was announced in July 2021 that the current county, district and borough councils, such as Scarborough Council, would be replaced by a new single council for North Yorkshire, with the York Council set-up remaining as it is.

This method of local government will start in April 2023, replacing the current county council and seven district and borough councils. Ninety new councillors will represent 89 divisions across the county.

North Yorkshire County Council said the announcement of the new unitary council has paved the way for talks which have already begun with the Government around a devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire as part of a mayoral-led combined authority.

A devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire could potentially unlock around £2.4bn of investment over 30 years, with a focus on improving the economic prosperity and future long-term opportunities for all residents.

The council added that the main aims were to be carbon-neutral and for people to earn higher wages and be healthier.