These fascinating interviews are from local radio and regional TV. They provide a fascinating insight into what our local councillor thinks of Whitby.
Yorkshire Coast Radio: A poll asking whether Whitby should leave Scarborough Borough Council and join the Tees Valley Authority, is ‘not a legal question.’
That’s according to Scarborough Borough and North Yorkshire County Councillor David Chance, who represents the Mayfield Ward in Whitby.
The poll was put forward at a recent Whitby Annual Assembly, which is chaired by the Town Council.
The poll is now with the borough council, who will look at the legality of the question, ‘Do residents want to leave Scarborough Borough Council to join the Tees Valley Authority?’
The proposal has been labelled by some as ‘Whexit. ‘The Tees Valley Authority is made up of six unitary authorities: Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees and was established in April 2016.
Councillor Chance says it’s a ‘vocal minority’ who have put the question forward, and two previous, similar polls have failed in the past.
“One in 2009 asked a number of questions, including whether or not the people of Whitby wanted to leave Scarborough Borough.
Around 560 voters turned out for that poll out of an electorate of 10,600, which cost the town council around £7 per voter.
In 2010, another question was asked, ‘Do you want to leave Scarborough Borough Council?’ Out of an electorate of 10,700 that time, there was a turn out of 99 people, with a cost of £52.52 per vote.”
“My understanding of this is that it is not a legal question. They’re asking to do something which they can’t do and that is join the Tees Valley Authority.
The Tees Valley Authority is not a council. It is a strategic authority, a coming together of six unitary authorities for the common good of that area.
It has very limited powers and it has devolved responsibilities from government. This question, in part, has come about because of the Whitby Piers situation.
What they don’t understand is the work that has to be done before you can actually begin work on the piers.
All the surveys have to be done so we know what we’re looking at, it’s not cracks on the outer walls that have to be filled with cement.
There’s voids in the piers that have to be filled as well and we have to know exactly where those voids are.”
Listen to the full interview with Councillor Chance here:
John Freeman is a local resident who’s in support of the poll, he said:
“The question is totally legal, we’ve done our homework on that one. The borough council might be trying to wriggle out of this.
They don’t want to lose Whitby don’t get me wrong. We’re too valuable to them. The poll will go ahead.
On Facebook, already the reaction is tremendous, largely supporting the situation.
In terms of the Piers, this is just going on and on and on. The council hasn’t actually put together the funds.
If they actually used the funds from Whitby Harbour, which is over £1 million a year, instead of dragging it back into central council coffers, (the 1905 Harbours Act says by law they should by the way) there wouldn’t be this issue.”
Listen to the full interview with John here:
A response to the question from Scarborough Borough Council is expected at some point next week.
[With acknowledgements and thanks to Yorkshire Coast Radio website, broadcast 27 April 2018].
BBC One Look North also broadcast a TV interview with former Mayor John Freeman, Chair of Whitby and District Tourism Association, a founder member of Fight4Whitby.
Lots more details and background information on http://www.fight4whitby.com