When I started thinking about this, I started by thinking how I got to live in Scarborough and why, for me, it has not changed its character, its natural beauty; it is still Scarborough.
I came to Scarborough on holiday three times before deciding to live here; the first was in the late 60s on a day trip from Ampleforth. We couldn’t park and ended up visiting the Moors and Flamingoland; the second time in the late 1970s I came and remember getting stuck at the Hopgrove roundabout and the long drive along the A64 BUT I also remember a fantastic bed and breakfast where the welcome couldn’t have been warmer, some fantastic evenings at the shows and time on the beach with sand in my crab sandwiches ...
BUT really struggling for a good evening meal in the town.
The third time was just before I moved here in the mid 80s and still all the things I remember from the previous holiday were still there, strangely can never remember going to the cinema in Scarborough but what I do remember is that we discovered North Bay by wondering what was behind the castle and that road beneath it. Those holidays made me choose Scarborough as the place I wanted to live when I got a job in York. I didn’t mind the travelling (which I ended up doing for 26 years). The railway line is something we should never forget as one of the vital arteries for the town.
Why did I start with that paragraph? Because many of the people I know in Scarborough came here on holiday first and first impressions matter. The welcome I got, the natural beauty, there was and still is plenty to do if you can find it. I felt safe compared to other UK towns and cities I had lived in, cost of living and houses were and still are a lot cheaper, the town was and still is relatively clean and as for traffic jams in Scarborough, what traffic jams? Travelling 25 miles used to take me two hours.
Do we still have that warm Scarborough welcome for all?
I am not so sure.
In my role in tourism I hear stories of people being asked what have you come here for, other visitors being totally ignored, even as a resident.
The attitudes of some staff in some shops is far from customer friendly – it’s a chore to serve and yet I can go to other places in the town and the service is the best I have ever had.
So what should we do? Let’s have pride in the place we live in. We could all think of places we love in Scarborough ... well shout about them, sing them from the rooftops, the things that make Scarborough unique, rather than concen-
trate on the negatives (everywhere has those!). What are your hidden gems of Scarborough?
I came to Scarborough three times and one of the things that I will always keep are my memories, so it is really important that we do not lose the fabric of the place; by all means let’s modernise but at the same time we have to realise why a lot of people come to Scarborough ... to reminisce, to go down memory lane and bring with them the next generation of visitors and, who knows, residents too.
We must keep up with the times. I couldn’t believe it when someone said to me that the Premier Inn that was built a few years ago was the first purpose-built hotel built since Victorian times.
We mus t move with the times and give the residents and visitors what they are looking for – but do we really know what we want, when all we seem to do is criticise new developments of any kind. Surely as long as it is right for Scarborough we should be encouraging these investments into the town, or are we wanting the town to be in decline?
What of the town? We must grow the town in any way we can. We must create the right working environment with jobs for all skills and capabilities and pay accordingly.
Low pay is an issue that needs to be addressed but at the same time low pay doesn’t mean that a person cannot enjoy their work, there can be other incentives.
There are a lot of creative people in this town and we need to continually encourage them to stay in the town and develop their ideas here.
We need to look for those higher paid opportunities that come along as well. As someone who is proud of living in Scarborough it can be hard to be told (twice) that “you won’t get a job in Scarborough with those skills – you’ll have to
move to York or Leeds.” They were right. I have ended up working away but still manage to live in Scarborough. There are some great and world leading businesses in this town – they need to be recognised and encouraged to continue to grow for the benefit of the town and future generations.
Growing the town means keeping our services. It means we will attract more investment for those jobs, leisure and indoor facilities that we all crave. So let’s:
Have pride in the wonderful place in which we live, there are lots of places a lot worse
Act. If there’s something you don’t like do something about it; don’t rely on others
Think about what we want Scarborough to be in the future and be a part of it
Build on what renaissance achieved and build a community-based group for Scarborough’s future
Not be so critical of some of the schemes, they must be right for Scarborough and get the support of the residents
BUT remember the money is being spent in Scarborough rather than elsewhere in the country.
Forum for Tourism