Whitby Goth Weekend: Residents raise concerns about ‘chaos’ and impact of tourism
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Several residents spoke at the full meeting of Whitby Town Council, on Tuesday, November 7, to bring attention to the impacts of tourism which one local said was leading to “the loss of the town”.
However, officers from North Yorkshire Council and NY Police said that improved management was necessary albeit difficult due to the nature of the event.
The Whitby Goth Weekend is a twice-yearly music festival that was most recently held in October.
Speaking at the meeting, Dr Janet Brown raised her concerns ahead of a debate on the harbourside public realm consultation.
She said: “The plan on the whole is predicated on tourism being a good thing for the town.
"I’d like to ask where the empirical evidence for this assertion is, and what type of tourism is of benefit to the town and its residents.
“My argument here is that not all tourism is beneficial to the town.
"If you take the Goth Weekend, when fields were ripped up, West Cliff was ripped up, the park at the abbey was ripped up by tyres from big vehicles and campervans.”
Dr Brown added: “It wasn’t policed, it wasn’t managed, and the town was in chaos – it took me five minutes to get across the Swing Bridge.
"Something needs to be done about tourism and its impact on the town.”
Also speaking at the meeting was resident Ian Dixon who said the Whitby Goth Weekend “used to be a great event” but said it had “got out of hand” due to a lack of policing, describing it as “utter chaos”.
Richard Marr, North Yorkshire Council’s highways manager was present at the meeting for a discussion on the public realm consultation and also addressed concerns about tourism.
Regarding the Goth Weekend, Mr Marr said there were “an awful lot of people” and said that the improved management of future Goth Weekend events had been raised with the Scarborough Safety Advisory Group.
He said that one of the issues was “trying to identify a specific organiser for the Goth Weekend” that was liable for the event.
He added: “We need to do something more for the next event.”
Also attending the meeting was a representative of North Yorkshire Police who provided a local crime update.
The officer told councillors that from a police perspective, the Whitby Goth Weekend was “incredibly well attended” and had “pretty much passed without incident”.
However, the police officer added that “there were a lot of concerns about parking and the amount of people and congestion, particularly around the Swing Bridge.