Whitby’s East Pier Lighthouse Will Remain Closed

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Whitby’s East Pier Lighthouse Will Remain Closed

Free Whitby campaigner Nigel Ward has been involved in ongoing talks with Scarborough Borough Council and English Heritage over various issues regarding Whitby’s East Pier Lighthouse.

whitby east pier lighthouse

Through various Emails and Freedom Of Information requests Nigel has sought information on :

  1. The ownership of the lighthouse and the possibility of a lease for the lighthouse being granted to a local community group – “The friends of the east pier lighthouse”. The aim of any such group would be to lease the lighthouse and raise funds for much needed repairs to the lighthouse which sadly finds itself boarded up, closed to the public and in a very dilapidated state, much like a high percentage of the harbour infrastructure in and around the town centre.
  2. Which body has statutory duty to repair or force repairs to be carried out on the building.

Despite a reluctance in some quarters to discuss the matter, Nigel has been able to ascertain that the Lighthouse is currently under the ownership of Scarborough Borough Council. Further to this, not only do the council own the lighthouse but they are the body who has power to ensure that it is kept in an acceptable state of repair (Which clearly it is not).

Speaking to Real Whitby earlier in the week, Nigel said he was totally dismayed to find out that the council are both the owners and enforcers of repairs on the building, with this situation meaning that the council could decide not to enforce refurbishment upon themselves if they so wished. In addition Nigel says that through his correspondence with Scarborough Council it has become clear that they have no current plans to either refurbish or reopen the lighthouse.

Quote : John Riby to Nigel 15th September 2010

The East Pier Lighthouse is closed to the public and will remain so. There are no plans at present to undertake refurbishment works either inside or out but any essential maintenance will be carried out as and when necessary. In terms of full restoration of the Lighthouse, there are no current plans but I envisage that the Whitby Harbour Board may wish to consider such going forward and measured against other priorities.

Both Nigel and Whitby Town Councillor Ian Havelock have pressed English Heritage to take action, but EH’s Yorks Team Leader Neil Redfern has stated, “This is one of those unfortunate cases and whilst we will try and encourage SBC to take note and act responsibly in regard to the lighthouse we can not immediately compel them to do anything”.

SBC Councillor Mike Ward has brought it up in full Council, also to no avail.

Meanwhile, the East Pier Lighthouse (a Grade 2 Listed Building) is listing in the direction of the recent pile-driving work at the base of the East Pier extension – and SBC is committed to doing precisely nothing!

Further Reading

By |2011-11-02T23:30:38+00:00November 2nd, 2011|Categories: Featured, News|Tags: |33 Comments

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  1. Nigel Ward February 17, 2011 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Good work, Glenn! I was beginning to think no-one gave a damn!

  2. admin February 17, 2011 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Time can be a problem for me Nigel. But usually I do get there in the end. Hopefully with Angela, Alan and Lee now on the Real Whitby Team we can get more articles out on a frequent basis.

  3. Marion Sythe-Jones February 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    Wow, thats some lean on the lighthouse. Has the underpinning caused that.

  4. Lee February 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    I’m always amazed at the sheer wear on the stone on the lighthouse whenever I get into Whitby. Surely SBC would rather see it looking it’s best rather than a lump of dangerous stone after it has fallen into the harbour? Makes you wonder…I know budget cuts are all abound at the moment but to let something so majestic go to rack and ruin is almost unbelievable.

  5. Frank Chalmers February 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Can this really be true?

    What are Whitby Town Council being paid for?

    Shouldn’t they be checking stuff like this, and bringing it to the attention of those responsible? What are they charging £230,000 a year for?

    It seems to me that SBC are over worked, and possibly have overlooked this one. I’m not defending, just playing ‘devils advocate’.

    But questions need to be asked as to why Whitby Town Council haven’t raised this issue before… Nigel, have you raised this with them?

  6. Nigel Ward February 17, 2011 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    I raised it with Councillor Ian Havelock; he will bring it up in Council at the March Meeting. I doubt anyone else there knows anything about it. Most of them seldom set foot in the town at all. Since this story was posted, I have been receiving reports that the West Pier Lighthouse is in a bad way, too, leaking badly so that the rain has ruined the electrics and the woodwork. Apparently, the guy who leases it is not even allowed to give it a lick of paint. There is a fine line between negligence and vandalism . . .

  7. Frank Chalmers February 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Neglegence and vanadlism?

    If what you say is true, don’t you mean “wanton destruction”????

  8. Margaret Urwin February 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    Just another example of SBC allowing Whitby to go to wrack and ruin…perhaps they are hoping the town will fall into the harbour if they leave things undone for long enough, then they will be able to spend ALL the money on Scarborough.

  9. angela February 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    ‘Wow, thats some lean on the lighthouse. Has the underpinning caused that.’ I think the angle of the photograph is deceptive….?

  10. Marion Sythe-Jones February 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    Looks like its about to topple. Are the council planning work to rectify the problem they have caused.

  11. Nigel Ward February 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Just been copied in to a very positive step. It probably won’t achieve much – unless a good few concerned residents add their weight to the cause:

    From: John Parker
    Date: 18 February 2011 11:44:52 CEST
    To: GOODWILLR@parliament.gov
    Subject: Whitby East Pier Lighthouse

    Dear Mr Goodwill

    I am taking the liberty of writing to you on the subject of our Lighthouse. I say “our lighthouse”, because as a Whitby man born and brought up on the East side, like many others of my generation, I look upon the East Pier and Lighthouse as part of my cultural inheritance. It is in deplorable state and looks as if it may fall over before I do (I’m 71).

    Am I correct in thinking that SBC is responsible for its upkeep? If so could you give them a shake and tell them to get on with the urgently needed restoration.

    Yours sincerely

    John Parker

  12. The Man In The White Suit February 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    There is a right and wrong way of talking to people, writing to people, communicating with people. Once you realise how to do it the right way, you have hit the jackpot.

    • admin February 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      Do you have any examples ? Perhaps from any letters you have wrote yourself.

    • Andrea Jones February 19, 2011 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Nothing worse than a critic who doesn’t provide alternatives.

  13. The Man In The White Suit February 19, 2011 at 7:02 am - Reply

    Come on Glenn! You know me better than that! If you do your kids homework every night, your kids ain’t going to learn a thing!

    • Frank Chalmers February 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      A guy I know tells me quite a bit about these people who are paid to come to sites like this to troll, and never offer anything useful.

      You seem to fit the bill.

      But do you get paid to be here, or is it for the good of your health? I have never seen you offer something positive. Can’t say I understand why, save to say you’re a troll, and not a very good one.

      • The Man In The White Suit February 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm - Reply

        Yes Frank I get paid to come on this site. I get £20 a letter, ffs where do you find this lot from Glenn ?

        • angela February 22, 2011 at 10:48 am - Reply

          Now, now children..play nice…

    • Andrea Jones February 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      I cant do my kids homework, theyre far mor eintelligent than me already.

      • The Man In The White Suit February 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm - Reply

        Private education.

        • angela February 22, 2011 at 10:53 am - Reply

          Not necessarily, you show your ignorance on this subject….if you had kids you would see the amount of homework they get on a baffling range of subjects! Ive been to Uni…some of the stuff my step-daughter got at 11 was amazing..she is 15 now and we do our best, but the way they learn (on the same subject) is completely different to when even I was at school!

          • The Man In The White Suit February 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm - Reply

            I have a boy, and I don’t do his homework!

          • angela February 23, 2011 at 10:45 am - Reply

            I have created a new subject in the forum to carry on this off topic debate..

            Should parents be expected to help children with their homework?

  14. Nigel Ward February 19, 2011 at 8:41 am - Reply

    The Empire Strikes Back!


    John Riby, Scarborough Borough Council’s head of technical services confirmed: “The Whitby lighthouse has, for many years, leaned slightly and this has become part of the building’s character.

    “So far as we are aware this is no indication of a structural problem.”

    But do bear in mind that this is the man who is leaving at the end of March – so it inlikely to fall over on his watch (if it does, we can always hope that he is wearing it at the time).

    More seriously, let us wish him luck in his new career as a ‘consultant’ – doing much the same thing as at present, but not susceptible to the FOIA.

    • Nigel Ward February 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm - Reply

      Priceless – they’ve got the WRONG LIGHTHOUSE!!!


      Council allays fears on ‘leaning lighthouse’

      Published on Fri Jul 31 17:54:28 BST 2009

      SCARBOROUGH Council has moved to allay fears that Whitby may have its own leaning tower of Pisa in the form of its lighthouse.
      A handful of Whitby Gazette readers have contacted the paper recently to say the lighthouse may be leaning slightly.

      The lighthouse on the West Pier was built in 1835 and is the taller of the two lighthouses in Whitby at 25.3m.

      In summer it is open to the public.

      John Riby, Scarborough Borough Council’s Head of Technical services confirmed: “The Whitby lighthouse has, for many years, leaned slightly and this has become part of the building’s character.

      “So far as we are aware this is no indication of a structural problem.”

  15. angela February 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    I agree with TMITWS in most respects as to there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with authorities/MP’s etc etc and If you know how to talk to them you get somewhere, if you dont you are labelled ‘vexatious’ as I have said before.

    I would like to know the outcome of Mr Parkers letter.

  16. Lee February 19, 2011 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    In my opinion and from past experience of dealing with heads of council services, most haven’t got a clue what is going on at ground level and live each day by letters and Email only. God forbid the day they have to don a hardhat and go and physically look at or investigate an issue.

    I deal with councils most weeks in my trade and some of the tosh that is spouted each week makes you wonder if they should be in an asylum rather than heading up their respective councils as they really are so out of touch with everyday issues.

  17. Al Roberts February 21, 2011 at 9:54 am - Reply

    I think one of the problems here is that, the lighthouse is an integral part of the harbour and the people running the department that is charged with its maintenance are far removed from the harbour.
    The harbour is now run by men in suits sat in an office rather than the “hands on” maritime based people who ran the port in the past.
    The role of the harbourmaster has been downgraded to that of, basicaly, a staff supervisor
    Whenever there is a problem the man in the suit at SBC takes over the issue and bases the solution in a different perspective, and usualy impractical, manner of office procedure
    In the issue of the lighthouse not only is the man in the suit leaving, as a commenter wrote earlier but, it seems, he is taking the job with him, when he recently told the harbour users group.
    JR explained that the council are currently rearranging its structure and as from 31 March, Technical Services will no longer exist. The harbours will therefore come under the Head of Tourism & Culture under the control of Brian Bennett.
    So the harbours at both Whitby and Scarborough are to be run by the Department of Donkey rides, Candy floss and Deck chairs.
    Looking on the bright side, I suppose the ligthouse could be converted to a helter skelter, if it doesnt fall down first.

  18. Frank Chalmers February 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    There comes a time when these people stop looking ‘INCOMPETENT’ and start looking ‘MALICIOUS’ with the way they behave.

  19. Nigel Ward February 22, 2011 at 11:34 am - Reply

    At last, the Whitby Gazette and the Whitby Town (Parish) Council have woken up to the situation:


    Not before time.

  20. Nigel Ward March 2, 2011 at 1:50 pm - Reply


    —– Original Message —–
    From: REDFERN, Neil
    To: ‘Nigel’
    Sent: Monday, February 28, 2011 6:07 PM
    Subject: RE: WHITBY East Pier Lighthouse – new FOIA


    We agree it is the responsibility of SBC to maintain the Lighthouse and we have picked this up with them.

    Regarding enforcement action, this power does not lie with English Heritage but with the Secretary of State.

    In our experience the Secretary of State is only likely to exercise this power in the most significant of cases.


    Neil Redfern

    Neil I. Redfern, Team Leader, North Yorkshire and the City of York

    Last night (Tues. 1st March ’11) Whitby Town (Parish) Council resolved to write to the Secretary of State, and to ask SBC and EH to attend a site meeting.

    That should ensure another 3-6 months goes by without further progress!

  21. Nigel Ward March 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    Everything’s gonna be alright! The cavalry are here!


    (Overheard in Council: “Which one is the East pier Lighthouse?”.

    I kid you not.

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