Opinion: Heritage or hotels '“ Scarborough at risk?
As readers will be aware there are some major battles going on between the public and the council over what is important to the town. These include hot topics such as South Cliff bowls club, the Futurist, tourist information centres and toilets.
I moved here because of the town’s beautiful location and its old world charm. The council’s leaders will tell you that they are bringing in major investments such as the UTC, Coventry University, Leisure Village, Alpamare and new cinema. This is true but we must not forget about our heritage and throw the baby out with the bathwater!
Government cutbacks are forcing councils to act like businesses, maximising profits to pay their way. But, does this mean selling the family silver to stay afloat? Many towns and cities are using their unique local heritage to attract visitors. Liverpool, Bristol and even Hull have done exceptionally well at it. Britain’s heritage is especially attractive to overseas visitors and is a growing market in the UK. Council documents often state that tourism is of major importance and needs to be supported and encouraged, not just in the summer months, but all year round.
Scarborough has the potential to be one of the healthiest resorts in the country, we have plenty of green spaces and countryside around us, assuming fracking does not ruin that, and if we could get our bathing water quality up to blue flag status. We could also stop the sale of polystyrene take away containers and cheap plastic buckets and spades, that break after only one use, ending up littering our beaches.
We are due to build another 9,000 new homes in the borough but we will also need extra capacity in schools and the hospital, which is currently being diminished. Constant growth is not possible on a finite planet so we should be protecting the things our ancestors have passed onto us and working towards a sustainable future using the resources we have around us.
I believe our future should be about protecting what is most valuable and the council, on behalf of the community, should be the guardian of our heritage. Why do I feel like a worried passenger on the Titanic asking why we are going so fast?