Originally published, August 10th 2011
Tuesday evening saw the monthly gathering of Whitby Town Council for a meeting based solely on issues relating to Whitby Harbour. There was good turn out from the local community and from members of the newly formed Whitby Harbour Board.
Councillor Ken Graham who specializes in Harbour matters led the meeting and explained to all present that his goal for the evening was to form a working relationship between the working harbour users, Whitby Town Council and the newly formed Whitby Harbour Group.
Councillor Graham explaied to those present that he felt there were several areas that needed to be explored, the most salient of which were :
- The unfinished marina development and transfer of £300,000 from that development into the hands of the harbour board.
- Address the inbalance of resources spent by the harbour board which currently favour private harbour users over commercial users.
- To form a working relationship between the working harbour users
The Unfinished Marina Development – Where Has Our £300,000 Gone ?
The first hour of the meeting was dedicated to a discussion on the transfer of £300,000 from the marina development (initially designated for marina landscaping) into the hands of the newly formed harbour board. Councillor Graham explained that this £300,00 “seems to have been transferred into the general coffers of the harbour board” , a situation that Councillor Graham referred to as “unsatisfactory as the money should have been spent on the work it was initially designated for”
Members of the Whitby Harbour Group spoke at length about the consultation process for this money and said they felt everything had been handled according to policy and within a professional manner. In reply councillor Graham told the meeting he had found it difficult to take part within the consultation and at one point the harbour master had treied to have him removed from the meeting. Mr Graham added that he felt the consultation process had been “seriously flawed” and the voices of the people of Whitby had been ignored.
Speaking about the transfer of the £300,000 Councillor Ian Havelock told the meeting that he felt the money had been moved from one pot to another , and relabelled as harbour board money, and although he was sure that everything was above board he had “Concerns over what the money would now be spent on” Councillor Havelock added that the money was given to Whitby people for development of the harbour environment and this is what it should be spent on.
Imbalance Of Resources Commercial Versus Private Harbour Users
In the second debate of the night Councillor Graham explained that the current situation of the harbour gave more weight to private use of the harbour over commercial users such as charter boat owners. Councillor Graham explained that the current plans of the harbour board was to give more weight to devlopment of the harbour for private use such as new yacht pontoons.
In response members of the harbour board told the meeting that the fishing situation was currently static and that the commercial future of the harbour now lays in the field of windfarm development for the new windfarm proposed for dogger bank, and not in fishing. The Harbour Board members explained that they are eager to bring windfarm work into Whitby and were currently working hard to develop this area.
A Working Relationship – Harbour Board And Whitby Town Council.
The final part of the evening was for the discussion of building a working relationship between Whitby Town Council and the newly formed harbour board. Members of the meeting agreed to form a sub committee of the council to deal with harbour matters and work closely with the harbour board.