Fight For Whitby

by Sue Boyce

Fight For Whitby

by Sue Boyce
Sue Boyce
Case Owner
I am a part of the Fight4Whitby group, holding our local Council to account. My retirement has been consumed by this stressful case, costing me my savings, however my trusty terrier keeps me sane.
10
days to go
£10,932
pledged of £50,000 stretch target from 134 pledges
Pledge now
Sue Boyce
Case Owner
I am a part of the Fight4Whitby group, holding our local Council to account. My retirement has been consumed by this stressful case, costing me my savings, however my trusty terrier keeps me sane.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

The situation

A local government Act in 1905 required that all revenue generated on Whitby harbour land should be “ring-fenced” for maintaining the harbour structures. Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) managed the Whitby area from 1974. In the period 2000 - 2005 they seemingly ended "ring-fencing" of the Whitby harbour revenues. This resulted in surplus monies being used throughout the Borough, resulting in  harbour structures being at severe risk of failure, as identified by specialist reports. 

Who are we

The Fight4Whitby group was formed in 2016 to raise funds to pay for expert legal advice on whether the 1905 Act was still applicable to SBC. I, as an individual taxpayer, submitted objections to the SBC accounts every year from 2016 to 2023 due to the apparent lack of application of this Act. In 2021 the Auditor issued their final decision on the objection to the 2015-16 Accounts and made a statutory recommendation that SBC apply to the courts for resolution. The present Local Authority maintains that its accounting practices are in accordance with its statutory obligations.

The Whitby harbour case is, at long last, due to be resolved by the High Court in March 2024.The Court will determine the extent of harbour land and whether the 1905 Act has been properly applied. If the Act has been incorrectly applied, it will decide how much money should be returned to the harbour reserves.

What is at stake

The Whitby harbour area is the amphitheatre of this historic North Yorkshire town, forever linked to Captain Cook and his ships. A failure of the harbour structures could  lead to closing the harbour, the consequences of which would include:

  • Risk to life: some 15-20 vessels take unscheduled refuge in Whitby harbour each year in storm conditions. The RNLI station would be unable to leave harbour to respond to emergencies at sea.

  • Risk to property: some 500 homes and businesses around the harbour would be at significantly increased risk of flooding from wave and tide action. These include two Grade 1 buildings; four Grade II* buildings; and over 200 Grade II listed buildings.

  • Impact on Tourism/Environment: There would be loss of tourism and amenity value which is irreplaceable due to the unique tourist appeal of key cultural assets and the iconic location of the Abbey and harbour setting.

Whatever the outcome, all of the Council’s legal costs will be borne by local ratepayers, which is already in excess of £300k, whereas our legal costs have had to be funded from retirement savings and donations. We are not aware of any such objections to other local authority accounts by tax payers getting to court, due to the sheer expense of such legal disputes.

Fight4Whitby are aiming to raise £10,000 to cover the immediate court costs, with a stretch target of £50,000 to cover the remaining legal costs. We need your support. Please contribute and share this page now if you love Whitby and want to see it maintained and protected for the future.

Your support is deeply appreciated.

Thank you,

Sue Boyce

More information about the Fight for Whitby campaign can be found at

https://www.whitbycommunitynetwork.org/harbour/

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