With the Vision for Whitby consultation running throughout May 2023, and with our analysis of the results complete enough to share the information, we have written to leaders of North Yorkshire Council (NYC) and Whitby Town Council (WTC) to push for its utilisation in fixing the many problems identified.
To: Cllr Carl Les (Leader NYC), Richard Flinton (NYC CEO), Michael King (WTC Clerk)
Cc: Sir Robert Goodwill MP, Tom Hind (NYMNP CEO)
Whitby Community Network’s “Vision for Whitby” consultation
During the month of May, Whitby Community Network engaged residents of the Whitby parish with our “Vision for Whitby” consultation. This was primarily an online consultation, using a map utilising the CreateStreets software to gather information about what residents thought of places in their town. In addition, we also provided a manual input form for residents to fill in at a few popular locations in the town, to attempt to capture the views of those people who do not have the internet or use computers. Upon conclusion of the consultation we made all the data from this exercise freely available on our website as we believe in transparency.
The consultation had 601 place responses, representing statistically significant data with a participation rate of up to 4.6%, higher than all other surveys for this parish, consequently providing a very strong baseline for development of the parish.
We hope both of our Councils can see the benefits of this exercise which captured what is important to the people of Whitby. We therefore would ask to meet with representatives of both North Yorkshire and Whitby Town Councils to ascertain what actions can be taken to address the issues identified.
The key themes identified through this process were:
- Housing is the single biggest issue.
- A shortage of “Green Space” and the need to preserve, maintain and replenish what we have. Two of the three sites earmarked for the SBC “Better Homes” project were commented on as needing to remain green space.
- Significant problems in the road network, with dangerous junctions, lack of crossings, speed issues especially near schools.
- The need for a parking strategy which encompasses both overnight stays in camper vans and the need to develop/expand Park-and-Ride facilities on both sides of town.
- Public transport was widely commented on as being utterly unsatisfactory.
- The need to increase pedestrian friendly areas in the town.
- Active travel development linked in with removing cars from the town by expanding Park-and-Ride facilities.
- Decaying infrastructure of the town that has had little investment over many years, Spa Pavilion, Cliff Lift, Swing Bridge, Piers/Extensions and so on.
Given the current areas of concern amongst many residents, separate questions were asked over the use of the three senior schools/location of the Maritime Hub and responses highlighted an overall level of dissatisfaction amongst residents with the proposals in addition to a perceived lack of openness from NYC and Whitby Secondary Partnership for the school sites, and SBC/NYC for the Maritime Academy.
More detailed information is available on both aspects of Vision for Whitby on the website, and we will continue to develop our proposals based on what residents have said. The consultation results and the data is available here
This information was shared with the four NYC councillors for Whitby and District at the conclusion of the consultation, but to date no response has been received.
We hope that you will appreciate the importance and true value of this grass-roots feedback from those who live and work in Whitby, especially given the stated claim of the new Council to “being built with local at its heart and aims to be the most local, large council in the country”.
Whitby Community Network is an issues based, open group, that seeks improvements for those who live and work in Whitby and the surrounding district. As such, we are very keen to see the results of this consultation utilised in moving the Whitby parish forward, by providing residents with what is needed for this community to be sustainable and a place where people want to live, work and bring up families, not solely a retirement and tourist destination.
We look forward to hearing from you and meeting with NYC & WTC representatives in the near future.
Whitby Community Network
We have had replies from Carl Les (NYC Leader), Robert Goodwill MP, and Whitby Town Council respectively, as follows.
Thank you for your e mail and the contents. This will be very helpful as we move forward with the new Council, and I will discuss it with officers and my colleagues.
Thank you for copying me into your vision for Whitby consultation results. Having been a member for Whitby for a number of years the results do not surprise me at all, as the tremendous pressure on housing in particular has been an ongoing issue.
It is interesting to note that point 1 identifies this as a big issue, but of course point 2 says that sites where housing could be possibly developed in the town need to be retained, which does completely underline the nature of the challenge. Whitby is of course surrounded by the National Park and therefore expansion beyond the town limits would be very difficult given the protected landscape there. Regarding the road network, if there are any specific areas near schools for example, which I could make representations to the County Council to them, then please let me know as I have had good experience in the past of speed surveys being done, and where necessary restrictions being put in place.
Appreciate the work that has gone into doing this and in particular I am looking forward to the changes to the swing bridge access, which should provide better pedestrian access round that part of town.
Rt Hon Sir Robert Goodwill MP
Thank you again for your email and for forwarding the information on the results of the Vision For Whitby consultation.
Whitby Town Council considered your invitation at its meeting on Tuesday and resolved that Councillors Barnett, Croft, Dalrymple, Redfern and Riddolls are delegated to meet with you and representatives of the Network to ascertain what actions can be taken to address the issues identified.
Could I ask you to please offer any suggested dates and times for an initial meeting, which I will circulate to those members to seek their availability.
I look forward to assisting in bringing the town council and the network together to achieve progress against areas of shared priority.
Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with in the short term.
Town Clerk, Whitby Town Council