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