About time too – and SBC says it has finally found the funds for some Whitby Pier repairs

This time it seems that SBC may actually have found some money… and about time, too!

News is coming in thick and fast that Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) has finally found the funds for some of the long-overdue repairs to Whitby harbour. You might just ask if Fight4Whitby pressure has anything to do with it?

In May 2018 SBC announced the £9 million repairs to the main Piers would start this year – only 16 years after SBC were first warned that the piers might not last another 10 years without major repairs – and only 6 years after the Environment Agency offered SBC £4.8M towards the cost.

Then in June 2018, SBC announced that the £1 million scheme to protect Church St from very high tides would also start this year (or is that a £2 million scheme? – it depends on which grant application you read.)

And this July 2018, SBC announced that they have secured most of the funding needed to re-instate the footbridge linking the East Pier to the East Pier extension. Fully 17 years after it was destroyed by the sea, harbour staff will finally have safe access to maintain the warning beacon at the harbour entrance – instead of having to leap from a boat onto a rusty ladder and climb up the wall of the extension every time.

What next? Safety ladders on the seaward side of the East Pier extension? Replacing the rusted-through safety handrails on the lower decks? A safety handrail around the East Pier? The £3 million repairs needed to Eskside Wharf? A new ice-making facility for the fishing industry, to replace the one that died in 2011? Or even, perish the thought, an efficient new dredger to replace the dodgy-looking lash-up that is the SS Dredgenot?

Or perhaps SBC could do something about the shockingly neglected foundations of the two pier extensions? Back in 2012 they promised to do dive surveys every 5 years, to check the extent of the extreme rusting of the protective sheet piling. Not to mention the size and location of the voids in the underlying mudstone, which threatens their very stability. The last dive survey in 2008 showed that 32% of the sheet piling had corroded. A full 10 years later, we wonder how much worse it is now?

Who knows what might be possible if SBC were to ring-fence ALL the income from harbour lands for re-investment in the harbour – as required by the 1905 Whitby Urban District Council Act? The harbour car parks alone bring in almost £1 million every year. That legal challenge by Fight4Whitby is now entering its 3rd year. We objected to the External Auditor about SBC’s  Annual Accounts for 2015/16 and again in 2016/17 – with the result that those accounts have STILL not been signed off.

Fight4Whitby will lodge the same objection to SBC’s Annual Accounts for 2017/18.

This long-standing legal battle is VERY expensive and we are immensely grateful for your support in getting Fight4Whitby this far. Please chip in a bit more money, so that we can keep up the pressure on SBC – it certainly seems to be producing results!

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