Whitby West Pier Footbridge by Jackie Greaves.

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Whitby West Pier Footbridge by Jackie Greaves.

Whitby West Pier. Holiday And Fishing Season Ruined Bt Scarborough Borough Council

Whitby West Pier. Holiday And Fishing Season Ruined By Scarborough Borough Council

Article By Jackie Greaves

It’s coming up to that exciting time of year again when dads, grandads, enthusiastic children and even the girls, often with pink spinning rods, are planning their first mackerel fishing from the pier.

Piggy banks are being raided to buy spinners and feathers. Bright little faces are waiting for the first mackerel to be caught off Whitby’s West Pier and the word will spread and everyone will head for the pier.

Except Scarborough Borough Council are depriving Whitby of this popular sport throughout June and July.

They have ‘chosen’ and planned these months to close the pier and install the new bridge. Why on earth would they choose June and July to do this, we ask ourselves?

It can’t be the weather and sea conditions as they were able to install the temporary bridge in the dark winter month of December. There are eight months of the year when they could have chosen to install the new bridge. Does anyone know the answer as to why they want to do it in June and July?

The Government have turned to retail expert Mary Portas to identify what government, local authorities and businesses can do to promote the development of more prosperous and diverse high streets.

That includes you SBC. What on earth would she say if she arrived here? What advise would she give to Scarborough Borough Council? Mmmm, possibly keeping Whitby’s pier open during the busiest fishing season of the year and not to drive our customers away would be a start.

She says, “I am calling on businesses, local authorities and shoppers to contribute their ideas on how we can halt this decline in its tracks and create town centres that we can all be proud of.”

We are proud of Whitby. Please SBC, please let us keep our lovely town and all of the attractions that bring people back year after year to visit it. Why aren’t you proud of Whitby?

Whilst most councils are doing their best to regenerate town centres, SBC would appear to be trying to close ours down. We are a seaside/fishing town and we are having our prime tourist attraction closed by our council at the most important time of the year.

Last year SBC told us that they had to shut our pier during the mackerel-fishing season due to safety reasons. They told us that the timing was beyond their control.

This year they have actually scheduled the pier closure during the mackerel-fishing season. They have chosen to do so without thought for the many, many people whose simple pleasure is to go mackerel fishing on the pier; without thought for the businesses that need the trade it brings to get them through the long winter months.

How many of them will still be here next year? Small independent traders who make Whitby the individual place that it is and the very reason that people come in their thousands to Whitby.

When the streets of Whitby are empty and the mackerel have long gone, SBC will have presented us with a shiny new bridge on the pier. But too late for the lost days of June and July and the memories of happy fun had on the pier.

What will be the excuse to close the pier next year we wonder? Maybe the lighthouses, owned by the council, that have received no maintenance and repair will be declared unsafe for the public to walk near.

Maybe the rotting timberwork on the piers due to lack of maintenance will be deemed unsafe for the public. We wouldn’t leave our garden sheds and fences totally unprotected against the elements, let alone timbers that face the lashings of the North Sea.

Our telephone is already ringing with distant anglers enquiring if a mackerel has been caught off the pier yet before making the journey to Whitby.

My own son has been waiting for the first moment when he will be out of bed at 5am to go and catch some fresh mackerel and triumphantly bring them home for breakfast.

Simple pleasures in life that are going to be snatched from us by SBC. They won’t have to face the disappointed faces in our shop asking why the pier is closed. Or mop the tears of little people whose day out has been cancelled.

Nobody will be walking along the pier with their fish and chips. On still, peaceful evenings over the next few weeks take a long look at our sad, lonely pier and think about the laughter and fun that should be happening there.

By | 2012-06-15T12:32:23+00:00 June 4th, 2012|Categories: Featured, News|Tags: , , , |22 Comments

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  1. Tim Thorne June 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    SBC virtually ruined Mackerel fishing for parents and kids from the East Pier in Scarborough with rock armour. It is quite easy to lose your kids between the boulders!

  2. Peter Boiston June 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Ive saw the news on the T.V about the crazy decision from Scarbrough council. Now i have read the shock news that people wont be able to fish from the pier for mackeral at the prime time of the year..I have just been barred of a Whitby internet forum which i actually talked about the East and west piers.Ive travelled from Stockton since i was a schoolboy to Whitby and loved the place but when you get silly news like this and silly people handing out life time bans simply for trying to give your views on a open forum i am thankfull that i am allowed to speak through my local gazette and fishing magazines.Lets hope SBC read these letters and do a U-TURN like this Lib-Con Goverment are doing by listening to common sense.

  3. admin June 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    Tim, they have ruined fishing at Scarborough right the way along marine drive with Rock Armour. Its only suitable for the hardcore anglers now. Wouldn’t surprise me if they do the same in Whitby.

  4. Nigel Ward June 5, 2012 at 8:26 pm - Reply
  5. Patrick McGovern June 5, 2012 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    Stupid Council Officials, they have too much power, they should listen to what the people want. Not just do what they want!

  6. steve June 5, 2012 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    we are now undergoing the same sort of treatment here in redcar, we wanted a nice pier for people to stroll along and fish from like in the good old days, instead we’re getting a tower (vertical pier?) when I was taught in school piers went outwards not skywards! not much chance of catching any mackral on our pier? the trouble with these councels is they forget they are elected by us to work for us not against us, they need to learn to work with the public and stop dictating to it!good luck with your plight whitby you have our sympathy.

  7. Nigel Ward June 6, 2012 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Readers should make up their own minds about the following email from Whitby Harbour Board Chair Cllr Mike Cockerill to Jackie Greaves. If this is not the ultimate example of an arrogant buffoon talking down to a Council Tax paying member of the public, you tell me what is!

    On 28 May 2012 at 11:26 “Cllr.Mike Cockerill” wrote:


    I am NOT missing the point.

    I am perfectly aware of the fishing season, particularly mackerel, as in my younger days I used to derive immense pleasure and satisfaction from sea fishing including mackerel.

    You allude to the timing of the closure of the bridge last year as though it was decided around the school holidays, that was not so.

    The decision to close was taken on purely safety reasons as has been well publicised.

    In wonder what you would have said if we hadn’t closed the bridge and it had collapsed with some mackerel anglers on it.

    This dialogue is now complete and we look forward to getting the bridge installed and open ASAP.

    Mike Cockerill

    In my view, Cllr Cockerill has been extremely disrespectful and is clearly unfit for purpose and unfit for public service. A complaint to the (double) Standards Committee is a waste of time.

    And I should know!

    • admin June 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm - Reply
    • Al Roberts June 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      The last sentence of the mail to Jackie is identical to the one Mr Cockerill uses in this mail he sent to me, recently.
      As I explained in my earlier email, I have no input or responsibility for the Minutes of the Scarborough Harbour Users Group, nor those of the similar groups at Whitby and Filey.
      The fact that the Minutes might be taken by SBC staff in an effort to assist the User Groups is not relevant.
      I reiterate that I intend taking no action in this matter.

      I consider dialogue on this issue to be complete and therefore at an end.

      Mike Cockerill
      Pomposity personified!.

  8. Peter Boiston June 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Cant see the local forum members getting exited.
    Their mediator tried to get a debate going on the effects of Hydro Power on the Esk.
    He was very upset nobody responded.
    The council must read forums like that and know they have no opposition to their plans and just carry on in their own time.
    Such a pity.

  9. That Guy June 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Bonkers that is! Makes you want to unearth what they are truly up to and call me a conspiracy theorist but there’s usually something dodgy going on in the background.

    Hope they fail.

  10. Nigel Ward June 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    @Al Roberts:

    Yes. I have one of those, too. Look at the bottom of this ‘thread’ – another demonstration of ignorance, arrogance and incompetence:

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Nigel
    To: Cllr.Mike Cockerill
    Cc: jonathan.stokoe@yrnltd.co.uk ; Jon WHITTON ; Tom Brown ; Richard Ineson ; Mike Ward ; Jon Risdon ; Ken Graham ; IAN HAVELOCK ; Mike Cockerill
    Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 10:04 AM
    Subject: Re: Scoresby down

    Good morning, Mike,

    Futher to your email of 4th April 2012, in which you declined to engage with me and provide information about the inspectons/maintenance-logs/risk assessments in regard to the collapsed Scoresby Monument:

    You will see from the appended email thread that – although my own FOIA request to the Head of Tourism & Culture and Harbour Supremo Mr Brian Bennett has been ignored – a member of the public has succeeded in establishing what you and I knew all along.

    No inspections. No logs. No risk assessment. Nothing.

    Now tell me that the Whitby Harbour Board is competent and fit for purpose.

    I do not think so. I think it has been negligent to the point of risking public safety.

    That is my opinion and I intend to express it as widely as I please.

    We should have a coffee some time – and a sticky bun.

    Kind regards,


    From: [redacted]
    Sent: 10 April 2012 19:14
    To: Brian Bennett; Cllr.Mike Cockerill
    Subject: To Brian Bennett and Mike Cockerill – Request for information related to Public Property
    Dear Sirs,

    Following the collapse of the Scoresby ‘Crow’s Nest’ in Whitby recently, I would like to inquire and request information from one or both of you (or whoever might be appropriate) for the following:

    1) The Risk Assessment documents/matrices since 1/01/2001 for the installation and maintenance of the ‘Crows Nest’

    2) The inspection reports 1/01/2001 for the same

    3) List of costs, and details of preventative maintenance measures 1/01/2001 for the same.

    4) Cost of repair of the monument and report(s) prepared in relation to the same for what measures shall be taken to prevent future ‘incidents’ of this nature.

    I will anticipate your responses and look forward to them.

    In sincerity,



    From: Brian.Bennett@scarborough.gov.uk
    To: [redacted]
    CC: Cllr.Mike.Cockerill@scarborough.gov.uk
    Subject: RE: To Brian Bennett and Mike Cockerill – Request for information related to Public Property
    Date: Fri, 4 May 2012 15:35:14 +0000

    Dear [redacted]

    I apologise for the delay in my response to your email shown below. I have made a number of enquiries in relation to the information you have requested and been unable to locate any records in relation to your questions numbered 1 to 3 inclusive. I have been informed that significant repairs were carried out approximately five-years ago when the crow’s nest barrel was rebuilt and the cross tree/yard was repaired. The repairs were carried out by the Harbour joiner and a member of the Technical Services staff as part of their normal jobs and it appears that there is no record of the cost of the works.

    The damaged sculpture has been placed in storage pending a decision on its future. No reports have been prepared or estimates of cost of repairs made.

    Any new or repaired sculpture will come under the remit of the Council’s Asset and Risk Management service and be included within the schedule of inspections.

    Brian Bennett

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Mike Cockerill
    To: Nigel
    Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2012 11:22 PM
    Subject: Re: Scoresby down

    Sorry Nigel, I’m not entering into any more dialogue but I do appreciate you informing me of the incident last evening Cheers Mike

    “Not entering into any more dialogue” because the only thing he could tell me was that he is negligent, incompetent and throughly infit for publi service.

    Resign, Mike. The choice is yours . . .

  11. Man Of The Valley June 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Such a shame- terrible timing.
    In response to Mr Boistons replies- you seem to have an axe to grind with a forum or its moderator and this really isn’t the place.
    Please don’t harrass the man like you did on Facebook (yes, I saw that)

  12. Bucko June 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Talk about how to win friends and influence people- SBC obviously use their copy of that to prop up a wobbly table!

    And thanks Man Of The Valley (Esk Valley no doubt)- but as the person in question that Mr Boiston is intent on harrassing/cyber stalking all I can say to him is that I was not ‘Very Upset’ as I believe in the true meaning of debate and allowing people the chance to reply or not.

    And while you seem intent on criticising the members of Whitby Sea Angling forum you should be aware that this website is ran by the same people.

  13. Jackie Greaves June 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Email to Cllr Mike Cockerill

    I understand that Scarborough Borough Council has a duty of care to the community of Whitby including Whitby businesses and her people. I therefore respectfully request that the removal of the temporary bridge on Whitby’s West Pier and work to replace it is postponed to avoid the town’s main fishing season in June, July, August and September. Especially as the planned timing of the work is due to the fact that Cllr Jane Kenyon, President of the Whitby Regatta, and director of Whitby Regatta Limited and lead lobbyist for the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, the governing body overseeing the fairground installations during Regatta wants the new bridge in place in time for the Regatta 2012 and that this timing is not in the interests of the community of Whitby and its economy.

    Ms Kenyon having a business interest in both the Regatta and the funfair, this is a declarable interest under her Portfolio of Finance, Procurement & Legal, since she is in a position to influence the timing of the Extension closure in favour of both entities.

    I would respectfully request that the closure of fishing areas in Whitby is done in consultation with local angling groups and businesses affected by such closures. Please can you confirm that this will be the case in future?

    The closure of Kiddies Corner during the half term holiday for non-essential inspection work can only be considered to be an appalling decision and in complete conflict with the council’s duty of care for this community. The same tides would have occurred two weeks previously and again in two weeks time.

    It clearly looks as though SBC are deliberately targeting Whitby’s tourist areas at peak times to cause as much damage to our businesses and community as possible.

    I would be grateful of a polite reply to this email unlike the rude, arrogant, patronising and condescending replies that I usually receive.

    Kind regards

    Jackie Greaves

    • Nigel Ward June 11, 2012 at 9:43 am - Reply

      @ Jackie Greaves: I am sure you would be very grateful for a civil, reasonable, coherent and plausible response. Perhaps you should try Councillor David ‘Slim’ Chance, whose manners are impeccable. Admittedly, he is perhaps all too ready to swallow the party-line – including the hook. He is turning out to be of interest . . .

  14. Al Roberts June 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    I notice in the thread of mails posted earlier by Nigel that he says, “my own FOIA request to the Head of Tourism & Culture and Harbour Supremo Mr Brian Bennett has been ignored”.
    Me Too.
    It is possible that Nigels request, like mine, has fallen foul of Mr Bennetts unconventional email strategy, which he recently described to me as thus,

    “ I get about 80 odd e-mails a day, most days I dont read most of them, what I tend to do is look at those that stand out and it can go for weeks before I read some of them some of them I probably dont even read at all. I look at who its from and the title and I think well if its that important they will come back and ask, and if its not then eventually they just get deleted”

    Mr Cockerill who holds the Cabinet post with Responsibility for Harbours, has been made aware of Mr Bennetts unconventional email strategy.
    How disappointing then that he too has a similarly blinkered attitude of “Im the one who decides what dialogue will or will not take place”.

    It is little wonder that the management of both Whitby and Scarborough harbours are viewed with miss-trust.

    • Al Roberts June 11, 2012 at 9:18 am - Reply

      I will add that during the same meeting at which Mr Bennett shared his email strategy with me he followed it up by stating, rather ironically,
      “Bloody Councils, I know I work for them but they are just so slow, the wheels turn so slowly.”
      It would be hard to disagree with that!
      I can imagine Mike and Brian explaining their individual strategies to each other and each vying to outdo each other going something like this.


  15. Richard Ineson June 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    What a complete shambles! Does everything have to revolve around the wishes of Jane Kenyon and her cronies?

  16. Just 66 votes June 15, 2012 at 7:31 am - Reply

    Getting to grips with democracy
    Real Whitby serves such a useful purpose. It asks, it criticises, it campaigns – all worthy endeavours but recently I have become disenchanted with its constant whining and its somewhat pompous insinuation that it is the only power for good in the town.
    As a relative newcomer to the area – only five years, my perception of the town and its people is probably not the same as that of the ‘born and bred’ division but nevertheless I may have a valid point to make. I am heartily sick of listening to the fatalistic tales of woe, of the victim culture that abounds, of the ‘well it would be like that – it’s Scarborough’s fault’. It really is time to bounce out of this negativity and start campaigning for what we want, not what we don’t want. For as long as this vicious downward spiral of lack of aspiration and initiative continues Whitby’s decline will continue.
    For example, one small but irritating incident: the closure of kiddies’ corner at half term. Yes a stupid decision but things could have been averted. Just for a start, I would suggest that WTC gives SBC and NYCC an annual calendar of dates when such work can be done without disturbing the residents and local businesses. Then, if it is disregarded, the councillors responsible at SBC/NYCC can be taken to task for not protecting the livelihoods of locals and the pleasure of its visitors. Whitby needs to start taking the initiative on what it wants for its town rather than constantly bemoaning its fate and retreating to the pub to moan about the latest scourge from the council. It seems to me that it’s high time for all to become actors and not reactors.
    In my eyes the biggest issues facing the town are jobs, education, housing and health. Get these four right and the rest will follow; prosperity for the town, fulfilment of ambitions for our young people and a safe and healthy community. Yet, nowhere are these tackled on the Real Whitby site. It’s time to make positive decisions about our future and release Whitby from its negativity.

  17. admin June 15, 2012 at 8:47 am - Reply

    I acknowledge and respect your point of view. Our position is that we are happy to publish articles sent in by our readers. If you would like to contribute then please send all articles (Please note I say articles, I would like to recieve ready to publish, quality articles or letters) to realwhitby@gmail.com, I would love to publish positive news as I agree, the whining gets a bit much at times, but guess what ?? Our inbox is quiet. Get writing.

  18. p.boiston June 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    Surely the pier work will be open in july august,sept, when we will all be moaning about the heatin Britain and the mackeral will be jumping on the hooks.
    On the other hand it might save a few mackeral from the people that fill the black bags with fish then moan when they dont get a fish.
    We have all got to be more concervation minded and all get round the tables and talk.
    I find it so annoying that e-mails seem to bring out the bullies and dictators.
    I never found these people when i wrote hundreds of letters with pen and paper. A;lways got a nice reply by sending a return envelope.

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