Whitby 'left to go it alone' over first bank holiday weekend of 2022, fumes Mayor

Whitby’s Town Mayor is disappointed that over the first bank holiday weekend of 2022, the town has been left to ‘go it alone’ once again.

By Duncan Atkins
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 4:21 pm

Throughout 2021, Whitby Town Council called upon North Yorkshire County Council and Scarborough Borough Council to do more to manage their responsibilities with care and consideration for local people and for the increased numbers of visitors, inspired by the beautiful Yorkshire coast.

But the council says Whitby's infrastructure is not keeping pace with its status as one of the country's top staycation destinations.

As Whitby has welcomed thousands of tourists over Christmas and New Year, the council says that:

Visitors on Whitby beach over the Christmas period.

* public parking has been inadequate with cars have been circling the town and cliffs

* parking in residential areas has led people to ring the town council to complain

* despite hard work from the street cleansing team on the ground, bins have been overflowing

Whitby Town Mayor, Cllr Linda Wild, said: "When the country takes a day off, Whitby takes the strain once again with Whitby left to go it alone!"

The town council wrote last year to both principal councils to ask them to work harder and to work together to address Whitby’s parking problems.

Cllr Wild added: “Whitby’s existing Park and Ride is closed.

"This makes no sense when the demand for better infrastructure is no longer seasonal and the pressure on local streets and local people is constant.

"Closing the Park and Ride in the winter seems to be another example of North Yorkshire County Council not watching carefully enough and not reacting to the new reality in Whitby.

"The West Cliff is jammed. Who at the county is watching the situation in Whitby?

"The swing bridge is working, but it is crammed with people.

“At this time of Covid, the community in the town, particularly on the east side, has had a very gruelling 18 months.

"As residents we have been inundated with visitors in their thousands.

"The bridge has been closed to vehicles under a ‘supposed’ pedestrianisation trial.

"On the east side, we have had the worst time with the volume of traffic and reduced car parking.

"Tin Ghaut car park has been turned into a turning circle.

"This has created a piece of land where anything and everything goes.

"The residents can be trapped because they struggle to access the A171 from Spital Bridge safely.

“The highways authority, the parking authority and the authority with responsibility for street cleanliness are not keeping up with demand.

"We want people to come to Whitby and to enjoy it, but that cannot be at the expense of the people who live and work here.

"Most of all, we must be seen to offer a proper visitor experience, where getting to Whitby, parking in Whitby and walking around in Whitby are all part of a pleasurable experience.”

County Cllr Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: "Whitby is incredibly popular with tourists, no more so than on public holidays, and we know how important visitors are to maintain a thriving economy.

"It is therefore our priority to balance the parking needs of residents and local businesses while continuing to cater for visitors.

"We have regularly reviewed the experimental closure of the Swing Bridge and believe that the current arrangements are working.

"The findings of the trial pedestrianisation will be considered in more detail in the coming weeks when a decision will also be made on how the closures will be managed in the future.

"We will then be in a better position to review both on-street and off-street parking in the town in partnership with Scarborough Borough Council.

"In line with our experience of the Park and Rides in Scarborough, there is not sufficient demand during the winter months to warrant keeping the sites open and would not be a good use of taxpayers’ money.

"While there may be the very occasional weekend of higher visitor numbers, overall the demand for its use during the winter months remains low."