Whitby councillors to debate Christmas lights and controversial parish poll at full meeting

A controversial town poll, a vacant council seat, and Christmas lights are the subject of an upcoming meeting of Whitby Town Council.
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A full meeting of the council will be held on Tuesday, November 7, to discuss a number of issues including the controversial town poll, the annual budget, Christmas lights, and vacant committee positions.

The meeting at the Pannett Art Gallery is open to members of the public and is set to start at 6pm.

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Councillors are also set to discuss filling a vacant council seat following the resignation of the previous member for the West Cliff Ward.

Whitby at Christmas.
picture: Richard PonterWhitby at Christmas.
picture: Richard Ponter
Whitby at Christmas. picture: Richard Ponter

No poll has been called for in the advertised period which means that the town council will proceed to fill the vacancy by co-option, according to a report prepared for the meeting.

If approved, the vacancy is set to be advertised until November 29 with a decision on the co-option likely to be made in early December.

The meeting will also discuss the controversial parish poll held in October, in which residents voted in favour of an “en masse” resignation of the town councillors “to facilitate a democratic election”.

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The poll, which had a turnout of three per cent, saw 225 residents vote in favour while 73 opposed the proposal which was not legally binding.

Residents also voted in favour of motions calling on the council to “halt and re-examine” projects to regenerate the Market Place and Old Town Hall as well as the scheme to build a maritime training hub on Endeavour Wharf.

A report by the clerk of the council, Michael King, has also provided an update on this year’s Christmas lighting for the town.

The Christmas lighting has been installed ahead of the official switch-on on November 17 except for the lights usually hung on the Old Town Hall as scaffolding is due to go up in preparation for renovations

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According to the report, discussions with North Yorkshire’s street lighting service “have not been able to resolve some of the underlying issues with inoperative streetlights on New Quay Road”.

Councillors will also discuss the town council’s budget preparation process and the impact of inflationary pressures.