The development of a parish needs a strategic plan, to meet the needs of the community. For many years the views of the Whitby and District resident have not been taken into adequate consideration by councils, either skipping out consultation from particular aspects of development, or just ignoring residents views completely. For developments to be valued and to succeed, residents have to be fully consulted and involved. In the absence of a council taking the lead, Whitby Community Network decided to coordinate activity into consulting residents to define which areas of our District require work, so as to define future strategy, and where the area wants to be in, say, 10 years time.
The first stage of this process was to consult with residents about the Whitby Parish to identify the areas to protect and the areas that require development. The consultation was based around a map of the Whitby (Town) Parish, and every participant could then select places in this area, say whether they like / dislike / are neutral about that place, why, and what they would like to see improved in that place. They could also specify if they think the place is suitable for new housing. It’s a very simple process, and could be done for as many places as the participant wishes. Note that this was just considering the Whitby Parish in this first phase, as a trial to validate the process we are using, with a view to providing a similar exercise for Whitby District (the 16 surrounding parishes) in a subsequent consultation.
The consultation was open 01-31 May 2023, and was open to all residents of Whitby and District. It is now closed.
Participation was either using an online mapping tool on any internet-connected computer device with a web browser, or manually using simple paper input forms available in key locations around the town (and input from this mechanism was entered into the online system at the end of the consultation).
The consultation was advertised using A4 posters placed around the town and limited parts of the District. The manual input was available in Whitby Coliseum, Whitby Spa Pavilion, Eastside Centre, Green Lane Centre, Flowergate Hall, and Kirkham Close Centre, and how to fill it was advertised using an A4 poster. The posters and assorted media can be seen in the Consultation Media section below.
The online map defaults to a Road map with road names marked (see this map popup). You can alternatively select the Satellite map if that helps you find the place you want easier. The map shows Whitby Parish highlighted in orange, and is based around Google Maps. You can zoom in and see streets etc to find the places important to you, and see what people have said.
- The dots on the area signify where someone has provided comments; green dots are places people “like“, orange dots are places people are “neutral” about, red dots are places people “dislike“, and blue/gold/red “radiated” dots with a number are where there are multiple dots at that location (blue = 1-9, gold=10+, red=100+) and you need to zoom in or click to see them.
- The four “special” icons signify fixed (educational) locations that already were under consideration for development. Residents could click on these and have their say on the proposed development. Specifically, we had
- Endeavour Wharf – proposed as the site for a Maritime Academy, as part of Town Deal,
- Caedmon School Scoresby Site – subject to a proposal for rationalisation of Whitby secondary schools,
- Caedmon School Normanby Site – subject to a proposal for rationalisation of Whitby secondary schools,
- Eskdale School – subject to a proposal for rationalisation of Whitby secondary schools.
At the outset of this consultation we promised that the results will
- be published, in full, on this website, including raw data, to provide complete transparency.
- be analysed to derive a series of headline messages that will provide an overview of the consultation, as well as to define areas of the parish that need protecting and areas of the parish that need development.
- provide evidence to back up campaigning, as well as to demonstrate the level of support when requesting funding.
- potentially lead to detail consultation with residents on the redevelopment of some areas.
- provide an overall assessment of the relative successes and failures in the consultation process, to provide potential improvement in any future consultations.
- decide on whether to repeat the exercise but for the surrounding 16 parishes, in conjunction with partner organisation such as the NYMNP.
and this is what is covered in this section. The results are split into “Places” and “Education sites”.
With the CreateStreets map participants could click on any place in the Whitby Parish and give opinions about that place, and the results are presented here.
Unlike previous council-run consultations we believe in transparency. With this in mind the raw data from the CreateStreets Communities map is now available as a spreadsheet. Click on the button below to access it. Please note that third parties are free to view and use this data, but any usage must accredit Whitby Community Network, and the Vision for Whitby 2023 consultation.
In terms of the level of participation of residents with the places consultation, there were 601 places marked on the map. This signifies that up to 4.6% of residents participated in the consultation (601/13200) during the month that it was open. We can contrast this with recent North Yorkshire Council Let’s Talk consultations where the order of 0.2-0.5% of the population has participated, with each of those consultations running for typically 2 months. In terms of statistical significance, a sample size of 601 with a population of 13200 provides 95% confidence interval with margin for error of 4%; as a result we can conclude that the results are statistically significant and can be used.
Regarding the split between online and manual-input forms. There were 555 online entries, and 46 manual entries. The manual entries comprised Coliseum (18), St Johns Ambulance Hall (14), Kirkham Close (6), Whitby Spa Pavilion (4), Eastside Centre (3), Green Lane Centre (1), and Flowergate Hall (0). The 2 sites that had the most responses had events which benefitted engagement, whereas the 2 sites with lowest participation didn’t seem to encourage engagement (e.g by Flowergate Hall putting the collection box + slips in a cupboard!). The conclusion from this is that any sites used for manual entry need to be chosen based on willingness of the venue to actually participate and to be holding events during the consultation period, and to concentrate on a small number of such sites.
Using location-based analysis, in no particular order, we have the following. Note that this simply highlights the primary locations; there are many more comments on the map which should be used for any detailed purposes.
- Former Golf Course behind Love Lane (Local Plan HS22) : 33 comments about the area, with all to leave this space as green space or as cemetery, citing local lack of drainage in rear gardens along Love Lane (and hence through this land) as well as the general shortage of green space in Whitby parish.
- Upgang Ravine, Promenade, West Cliff : prohibition of and enforcement of parking of campervans, and the need to have clearly defined areas (e.g park-and-ride, camp sites, etc) for such vehicles where appropriate facilities are provided (24 comments). Ban on all vehicles other than emergency services (and cliff lift replacement service) along the promenade.
- Pannett Park / Museum : 12 comments on how well maintained it is, and that it should be the model to use for more such parks around Whitby for the benefit of residents.
- White Leys Playing Field : 13 comments about the need to add limited paths, some benches and a better maintained childrens play area. A few comments (housing developers?) seemed to think building housing on a protected green space would be a good idea, but thankfully this is one of the few protected green spaces in Whitby and that will never happen.
- Larpool Lane / Playing Field : all 16 comments about the area remarked on the need to preserve Larpool Playing field as green space and better maintain it, as well as the need to provide a safe walking / cycling route on the playing field side of the hedge due to the unsuitability of Larpool Lane for 2-way traffic never mind for pedestrians or people on bicycles. Further comments suggested imposition of a 20mph speed limit and size restriction on vehicles on the whole of Glen Esk Road / Larpool Lane.
- Stakesby Vale / Bagdale Beck : 13 comments about how this area should be better maintained and developed to be a real recreation space for residents, with a well laid accessible path for pedestrians and people on bicycles, improved play area, and connect it under the Switchbacks to the Sneaton Castle estate.
- Rievaulx Road green space : 7 comments about the need to maintain this for recreation by residents, and the need to add trees, benches and a path.
- Tuckers Field : 16 comments about the need to end car parking on a recreation area, and once that is ceased then to provide more picnic areas, benches, trees, and a children’s playground etc, since it was purchased for the recreation of residents and tourists (not to park metal boxes).
- Cinder Track / Viaduct area : 3 comments about the need to restore the disused bridge connecting to Prospect Rise estate to give a bicycle path connection to the Cinder Track. 3 comments about extending the Stakesby Vale bridge end of the Cinder Track along its old route to Kirkham Road so as to avoid people having to walk down Southend Gardens only have to then walk up Chubb Hill + Rievaulx Road. 6 comments about the land to the north of the Viaduct and the need to resurrect the Prospect Hill Line route as a walking and bicycle route, and to reclaim derelict land around that area to create a real resource for the recreation of the resident.
- Love Lane / Sandsend Road junction : all 11 comments remarking on the dangerous junction, difficulty for pedestrians crossing and the frequent collisions / near misses, with a need to have traffic calming as well as crossing facilities. A further comment requested a pavement along Links View from Upgang Lane to Mulgrave Road to provide proper pedestrian connection.
- Sandsend Road : 5 comments on the speed of traffic on Sandsend Road and the need for general speed reduction coupled with better facilities for walking and cycling along Sandsend Road.
- Guisborough Road : 3 comments about the lack of a footpath from Park-and-Ride to 4-lane-ends. Funding was obtained for this in 2021 but no action.
- Mayfield Road : 16 comments relating to transport difficulties – about the 4-lane-ends roundabout difficulty to cross for pedestrians, the lack of pedestrian crossing facilities for the full length of the road and the inadequacy of the pedestrian crossing at the junction with Prospect Hill / New Bridge, the speed of traffic on this road, the need to provide safe cycling facilities, the poor design and inefficiency of the Prospect Hill / New Bridge junction, as well as the requirement for 20mph outside the school. Buses parking in the carriageway near the school is another concern causing large backlog of
- New Bridge : 7 comments about the speed of vehicles over the bridge especially around the school entrance (20mph required), the general difficulty for pedestrians to cross the bridge (and inaccessibility of the footbridge on the west side), and the lack of facilities for people on bicycles.
- Spital Bridge / Larpool Lane / New Bridge junction : all 10 comments remarked on the difficulty to get out of side roads on to New Bridge / Helredale Road. Whilst this is exacerbated during Swing Bridge closures, it is a problem at other times also. A roundabout and / or traffic lights are needed, with suitable catering for pedestrians and people on bicycles.
- Helredale Road : Several comments about the difficulty of getting out of side roads (Eskdale Road, Abbots Road, Cholmley Way, Fairfield Way etc), speed of vehicles especially around East Whitby Primary (where it should be 20mph), the general need to make the verges more attractive with a few benches, and the lack of facilities for people with bicycles. Overall the road from entrance to Whitby needs a new traffic plan, with gradual speed reductions, and better design of side roads.
- Park-and-Ride : 23 comments about the utter lack of impact the park-and-ride facility is making on keeping cars out of the town centre and the need to radically expand it with a second facility on east side. The route taken by park-and-ride buses is also questioned, with a better route using Chubb Hill and Bagdale rather than St Hilda’s Terrace and Brunswick St. Furthermore, the fact that park-and-ride buses are largely with very few passengers (whilst residents have no bus service) is unsustainable. Advertisement of park-and-ride and available spaces needs addressing.
- The Carrs (Ruswarp – Briggswath) : 5 comments about the need for a safe walking / cycling space alongside this route, and about 60mph limit being inappropriate for such a narrow winding road.
- Whitby Business Park : Several comments about the lack of a design to this area, with roads being added ad-hoc and the result being a mess. A proper path is required between the end of Cholmley Way and Fairfield Way to allow workers to get around the business park.
- Green Lane / Ropery : 13 comments about the unsuitability of Green Lane to the amount of traffic, the lack of reserved parking for residents and the increasing number of holiday lets meaning that it is less a “community”. Also about the benefit of having a reserved green space that could do with further maintenance and development such as benches.
- Bus Station : 33 comments about the inadequate bus services, particularly for residents. Other comments about the lack of information at the bus station and absence of live bus timetable boards, as well as the reliability of buses. The design and all round cleanliness of the bus station area was also criticised.
- Hospital/Police Station Area : 10 comments about the lack of public transport connectivity as well as the limited services offered at the hospital, as well as how to use the space in front of the hospital buildings to provide social housing for local people, and perhaps relocate the police station to the business park along with the fire station.
- Piers/Extensions : 10 comments on the general state of lack of maintenance which is resulting in issues of safety, both current (lack of handrails, maintenance of boards) and future (structures being undermined by currents). Comments also mentioned the potential for tidal energy, demonstrated in a pilot 10+ years ago.
- Swing Bridge : 15 comments ranging from reducing vehicles by providing more public transport to the need for a wider modern bridge.
- Whitby Spa Pavilion : 9 comments on how run-down the Spa is, how it needs significant investment, and should put on many more indoor events such as table top sales, local bands etc but to actually advertise the events (on West Cliff); signage is deficient.
- Market Square / Sandgate / Church Street : 10 comments about the need to renovate the old town hall, but a sympathetic restoration without glass panels and definitely without a concrete plinth. Cobbled streets are a significant problem to the less mobile, and a solution should be found possibly by way of paving on one part of the road only. The pedestrianisation and limiting of vehicles around market square and sandgate should be enforced.
Places Consultation Results Summary
When we aggregate the comments to categories, to provide general messages
- Housing – Housing is the single biggest issue. If this is not remedied the workforce available to work in the hospitality sector will continue to reduce, and the viability of the town with it. Top priority.
- Restrict the quantity and location of holiday lets, to improve societal cohesion. This will require a primary residence clause on all new builds, but also action in the Local Plan / Neighbourhood Plan, as well as planning control over conversion between class uses.
- Provide houses of a type that residents are in dire need of (truly affordable to buy, social-rented, or long-term rented), rather than endless commercial developer estates that are unaffordable to many.
- Green Space – Generally poorly maintained and scarce, needing significant investment, and to be preserved at all costs, but needs expanding for the well-being of the residents.
- Pannett Park is very well maintained and could be a model for other green space.
- Stakesby Vale / Bagdale Beck needs significant investment to realise its potential, adding paths, benches, cleaning up the beck, and improving the play area.
- Tuckers Field should have car parking prohibited, and the space made usable for picnics, play area, and benches, with more trees. Car parking goes against the terms of its purchase.
- Calla Beck should have an upgrade to entrance, paths, benches etc.
- The whole Cinder Track – Viaduct area needs a full design to provide significant space for residents recreation. The potential is there.
- HA22 should be used for green space or the cemetery extension, not for yet more housing that does not meet the residents needs.
- More sports green space should be made free-to-access, not restricted behind school fencing.
- Roads – There are significant problems with the transport system, with speed an issue, as well as dangerous junctions.
- The through route along the A171 (Guisborough Road, Mayfield Road, New Bridge, Helredale Road) has the highest volumes of traffic, and has several problematic junctions that need redesign (roundabouts or traffic lights) to better permit traffic entry from side roads, a lack of pedestrian friendliness with crossings needed, as well as speed reductions needed particularly around schools and over New Bridge.
- Love Lane / Sandsend Road junction is in need of a redesign, possibly including traffic lights, with pedestrian crossing of the road very difficult.
- Sandsend Road should be considered for a speed reduction to 40mph, with vehicles often on the wrong side of the road on the Upgang Beck corner. A segregated walking and cycle path should be established along the full length of this road to promote active lifestyles.
- The Carrs should be considered for a speed reduction to 40mph, with road collisions and near misses common. A segregated walking and cycle path should be established along the full length of this road to promote active lifestyles.
- Implementation of default 20mph in residential areas, and in a larger area of town centre would make a much more pedestrian friendly environment (already voted for by Whitby Town Council, Dec 2022).
- Parking – There are major parking issues, with no clear parking strategy (due to the long promised parking review from 2018 never materialising).
- Campervan parking needs to be clearly defined in areas where suitable facilities exist only.
- Vehicles should be restricted from the sea wall, as well as Tuckers Field.
- Park-and-Ride services should be on east and west sides of town, with significant expansion, moving traffic out of town, which will aid potential pedestrianisation.
- Consider introducing residents parking schemes in problem areas such as Green Lane, Bylands Road and Fishburn Park. This should be part of a parking strategy document (review promised in 2018) that restricts visitor parking to specific areas.
- Public Transport – Not catering for the needs of the resident population, in terms of coverage, routes and how frequent / fast.
- Buses don’t reach all areas of the town, are too infrequent, and don’t operate beyond 5:30. A frequent circular shuttle bus should be provided around all of the town, as well as hourly buses reaching areas of the District. A particular concern is the lack of connection to the hospital which is very difficult to reach for less able bodied people (e.g elderly), and this should be tackled with some urgency.
- Trains are too few, and too slow, and the service needs radical overhaul, including an early morning service to permit commuting to Teesside etc
- Active Travel – Provision of a network of paths for pedestrians and bikes, preferably away from road traffic, would make for a nicer town, more pedestrian friendly, and would be a benefit for the health of the population.
- Paths should be established to connect to the Cinder Track, allowing people to get around town and do their routine tasks.
- Provision of a cycle path extension to the Cinder Track to head up the coast, as well as up the Esk Valley.
- Provide a cycle / walking path from Cinder Track to town centre, using the old Prospect Hill Line.
- While the focus of this will be on adding paths for bikes, it should also include properly surfaced footpaths for pedestrians where there is currently a muddy path.
- Various areas have paths that are not disabled accessible, and these need remedying.
- Several places don’t have crossings over busy roads and this needs to be remedied.
- General – There are many infrastructure maintenance issues that have accumulated under the watch of Scarborough Borough Council due to decades of lack of investment.
- The piers / extensions require major investment by 2030 and, as they provide a level of flood protection, this should be high priority.
- A Cliff Lift facility is essential, and either has to be maintained or replaced. A tramway in the style of Scarborough / Saltburn is an option.
- The Swing Bridge needs a strategy establishing for either pedestrianisation and little traffic, or replacement with capability for traffic.
- Spa Pavilion is in a great location and poorly maintained, needing significant investment and marketing, but should be developed to be a major attraction.
- The town centre area should have more pedestrianisation, and particular attention paid to the path/road surface to allow for less able-bodied people. Retention of shops is essential, not permitting change of use to holiday lets in prime retail streets.
- There are several old buildings in Whitby that need sympathetic restoration, and could be re-purposed to fulfil other roles.
- Street cleanliness is a major issue, and needs improving.
Education Sites Consultation
The 4 education sites (Caedmon College, Eskdale School, Sixth Form, and Maritime Academy) each had a specific question relating to the current proposals for those sites, with the respective proposals being
- Caedmon College : relocate ~400 pupils from Eskdale School to that school, resulting in ~1000 pupils of ages 11-16.
- Eskdale School : close the site.
- Sixth Form : hopefully offer more options.
- Maritime Academy : build a structure on Endeavour Wharf that may serve as a training centre but with unclear occupants to date; this assumes it is even possible to build there.
The results are shown on the chart below.
Education Consultation Results Summary
The proposals around the two “11-16” schools (Caedmon College / Eskdale School) are very unpopular with residents, with the sixth form vague proposal having little support also. Whilst the sample size is not large, it is felt to be representative of the local population, and the fact that many arguments around the education proposals have not been responded to, the claim that NYC is “the most local of all councils” is clearly under debate when they are implementing something against the local wishes.
The proposal for the “Maritime Academy” has very mixed support; likely some people agree with the idea of having a skills academy and didn’t consider the location in the agreement. Perhaps if the question had been something like “do you support a skills academy but in a different location?” then it could have obtained significant support? This simply highlights the need to have a more detailed consultation on which aspects people agree with and which aspects they don’t, and the fact that consultation by the Town Deal team has been minimal on this proposal.
This was the first consultation performed by Whitby Community Network and, to a degree, an experience building exercise. We did not expect to get everything right. General comments about the consultation are as follows
- It was performed without funding for advertising, relying solely on posters being placed in some key locations for a period of time, and social media posts (no paid adverts).
- We saw no cooperation from North Yorkshire Council to help advertise the consultation (despite the fact that we advertise their Let’s Talk). Similarly Whitby Town Council managed to share one Facebook post but nothing else to assist us.
- There was very little cooperation from schools, despite promises that secondary schools would support the initiative, with solely 5 pupils of Caedmon College having any involvement in our offered session(s)! No primary schools replied to our invitation.
- Whitby Library did not seem to place any poster near the PC terminals, even though this was mentioned to them as an online consultation.
- The nature of the consultation where you can see what other respondents have entered led many people to say “what I wanted to put was already there so I didn’t participate“. Consequently the participation would have been noticeably higher if this had been a blind consultation. We have requested to CreateStreets that they update their mapping tool to add a “Me too” button on other people’s comments, so that it is simple for people to register agreement (which in turn provides for higher participation).
- Many people wanted to put a general comment so didn’t have any particular place to put the comment, and so consequently some didn’t participate.
- The manual input option is essential since there are many people without internet, and likely many in this demographic didn’t hear about the consultation (since they would have to have seen the limited number of posters around the town).
- The places where we provide manual input need to be committed to supporting the initiative and not just put the box and slips “in a cupboard” or put the box out with no associated poster saying what it is for.
Improving Participation Rates
Residents can be categorised into 4 groups
- Aware of consultation, and participated.
- Aware of consultation, and intended to participate but didn’t get around to it.
- Aware of consultation, but either couldn’t be bothered or decided that it wouldn’t change anything (a common attitude after 49 years of Scarborough Borough Council edicts overriding what residents wanted).
- Unaware of the consultation.
Steps that we can take in future to obtain a higher participation are
- we need to make a much higher proportion of the residents aware (i.e tackle group 4 above); this cannot realistically be achieved without funding. With funding in place to put a flyer in with the Whitby Advertiser and distribute it to all dwellings in the Whitby & District area would mean that group 4 would be significantly smaller, and those residents would then be distributed in groups 1-3.
- to overcome the lack of action or lack of confidence in the process from group 3, Whitby Community Network would have to achieve some victories in campaigns to demonstrate that obtaining what people ask for is possible. This will be a gradual process.
- to ensure that everyone who intended to participate actually does, we really need to get involved in any organised events around the District and have the consultation accessible there and then. This could be U3A events, carers support groups, youth groups, or general community groups. This step would however be volunteer intensive, or would need the cooperation of other organisations such as NYC, or schools … something that did not happen with this consultation.
The consultation was advertised using A4 posters (shown below) placed around the town and limited parts of the District. The manual input was available in Whitby Coliseum, Whitby Spa Pavilion, Eastside Centre, Green Lane Centre, Flowergate Hall, and Kirkham Close Centre, and how to fill it was advertised using an A4 poster (shown below, along with the manual input form).
We had a short advertising video for this consultation, for use on social media, along with a short demo video showing how to operate the map.
It was advertised by email to all Whitby Community Network subscribers, as well as on the Whitby Community Network social media accounts along with a series of graphics aimed to provoke the resident into thinking about their town and what they valued. The 18 images utilised are shown below.
The consultation featured in assorted news media. First up was the Yorkshire Post on 15th April 2023 (page 6) with the following
This was followed by Greatest Hits Radio, who provided this article. Then there was This Is The Coast Radio who attended our April 2023 WCN meeting to see for themselves how the consultation would operate, and provided this detailed article. The North Yorks Enquirer also kindly published this write up.