Fait accommpli over fencing

I was somewhat stunned to read your article on the fencing off of the parking area opposite my pub the Old Scalby Mills as I was given to believe by councillors and officials that we were in a consultative period of co-operation yet I now seem to be faced with a fait accompli as the fencing has gone ahead as far as I can discover purely on a whim.

As my business is the only one that will at best be seriously damaged and at worst destroyed by this measure I was amazed that your reporter just took the council report findings at face value and did not contact me as the report Cllr Backhouse based his decision on is spurious.

So in the interests of “balance” I would like the opportunity to put my side as the ridiculous reasons given by the council report for taking this action do not hold up to close scrutiny and indicate a lack of concern for Scarborough’s amenities of which I consider the Old Scalby Mills to be one.

Firstly the issue of the grass. Your story stated that the report spoke of many complaints about the grass being destroyed by cars parking in the area, but when we met with councillors and officials some months ago, they told us they had only received ONE complaint.

Equally when the council owned the Old Scalby Mills which they did until not long before my arrival they seemed to care little for the fate of a few blades of grass.

The other aspect raised was road safety and the possible injury to members of the public. Well in my nine years here there have not only not been any injuries to members of the public there has not been a single accident and again when the council owned the pub they did not seem to think road safety was an issue.

Thirdly the report speaks of protecting Yorkshire Water’s access to their shaft which is in the middle of the disputed area but when I spoke to a senior official at Yorkshire Water he said that as far as he was aware the council had not consulted them at any stage.

And far from protecting their access had in fact completely blocked it with the fence as it is not gated in any section for Yorkshire Water to access their shaft and in an emergency Neil McVey, Senior Delivery Surveyor, said they would have no compunction in breaking it down.

At an earlier meeting I had with Mr McVey he said (which he confirmed with my solicitor) Yorkshire Water not only have no objection to parking on the site, but said they would be willing to construct a car park for me after they had finished their two year remedial programme on the site by way of compensation for any disruption the work had caused.

Yorkshire Water at least seem to have a strategy for working with the local community rather than against it a process which seems to elude Scarborough Council.

When we met with councillors and officials they expressed sympathy for our cause and said perhaps there were solutions to the problem one of which they suggested could be a car park, but stressed they had no money to build one.

Our local councillor Subash Sharma is also incensed over the way this whole affair has been handled as he tried to help us and feels he has also been misled as like us he thought we were in an ongoing consultative situation.

If the council were serious about wanting to be “helpful” there is no reason for double yellow lines on both sides of the road, as a single yellow line on one side would suffice as that would preclude parking until 6pm after that time the buses stop running and the Sea Life Centre is long closed so the road becomes a quiet cul-de-sac.

So given that there is not one example of a road accident let alone one involving personal injury we can discount that reason.

Only ONE person complained about the grass so that is not really the issue.

Yorkshire Water’s access has not been “protected” but blocked.

So we are drawn to a conclusion this is a move to force more coins through the meters in their car park outside the Sea Life Centre.

We are all struggling to stay afloat and I would think it is incumbent on the council to help in anyway it can the survival of businesses which generate wealth from tourists, pay taxes and provide employment rather than for short term greed take actions that could put them under.

If by ignoring the wishes of the majority this is someone’s idea of democracy at work I would suggest they are in the wrong job.

Keith Dufton


Old Scalby Mills