Whitby residents are being asked to comment on plans to improve the area around the swing bridge.
The Whitby Public Realm consultation, which has been launched today, will ask for views on how £2.3m of town's deal funding should be spent.
The project was identified by the Whitby Town Investment Plan. Its purpose is to improve the public realm in and around the swing bridge, improving the experience for both residents and visitors. It will also improve non-motorised links between the east and the west of the town, supporting other Whitby Town investment plan projects.
This consultation aims to explore people’s views on how the scheme could look. No changes are currently proposed to on-street parking, on-street loading or when the swing bridge will be closed to traffic. There will be a separate consultation in the future looking at this.
North Yorkshire's Highways Manager for the Whitby area, Richard Marr, says the idea is to get local views on how the area can be improved.
North Yorkshire Council says it is looking for views on six separate public areas:
- Zone 1: New Quay Road at the junction with Langborne Road and Station Square
- Zone 2: West of the swing bridge
- Zone 3: Swing bridge north east corner
- Zone 4: Church Street at the junction with Bridge Street
- Zone 5: Tin Ghaut, the former car park adjacent to Grape Lane
- Zone 6: A171 New Bridge/Spital Bridge junction
Artists impressions are being used to illustrate how parts of the town could look. In Zone 2 - West of the Swing Bridge - the consultation document says:
"The aim of the design is to improve and enhance the space for pedestrians, giving people more reason to spend time here.
It also aims to enrich people’s experience of the historic buildings, harbour and swing bridge by placing seating so that these views can be enjoyed.
Planting and trees help to provide a sense of place, improve air quality, help people feel closer to nature and provide shade in hot summer months. The trees would be carefully located to ensure they don’t block views. "
The consultation document says changes to the street arrangement could also be made in the area adding:
"We are proposing two new raised speed tables which can be used as informal crossing points to make it easier for people to move around the town centre. One would be on New Quay Road, connecting the pavement by the former bank to the harbourside pavement opposite. The other would be before the swing bridge, connecting the harbourside paving with St Ann’s Staith.
Pavement widening by the former bank and outside Papa’s restaurant would provide space for new seating, new planters, tree planting and new cycle stands. The paving at the mouth of St. Ann’s Staith would be reduced to ensure there is enough space for vehicle movement."
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for highways and transport, Cllr Keane Duncan, said:
“Whitby draws thousands of tourists each year who come to admire its heritage, gothic traditions, beaches and its location on the Jurassic Coast.
“This pedestrian-focused scheme offers the opportunity to enhance the public spaces and green infrastructure around the Whitby Swing Bridge, improving the experience for visitors and enhancing the quality of life for residents.
“We are encouraging people to look at the proposals and share their views as we shape the project going forward. By utilising this money, we look to celebrate Whitby’s past whilst adapting to the needs of today and preparing for the future.”
North Yorkshire Council's Area Highways Manager , Richard Marr, says the consultation launched today is looking for comments and suggestions and that they are not "wedded" to any specific ideas.
Richard Marr says the scheme is aiming to make the Swing Bridge area a more pleasant place to be and make it easier to manage when it's busy.
The consultation also includes an illustration of how the Tin Ghaunt area could look with a new archway "framing the view of the harbour"
The consultation says that the turning circle would be formalised, and planting introduced, providing a space for new seating to enjoy views of the harbour.
"Walking from Grape Lane and turning right there would be an archway that frames the view of the harbour, which would invite you to walk through it. There would be planting to the right and left.
To the right, the planting would be at ground level, edged with heritage-style cobbles. This planting would stand out against the red brick wall of the museum building. To the left there would be a low red brick wall planter (in keeping with the wall of the museum), edged with heritage-style cobbles. The walled planter provides a physical separation between people and vehicles that will use the space to turn around.
In the mid-ground, there would be upgraded railings to match the railings at New Quay Road. There would be tree planting by the railings to the left of the view to help disguise the views of Church Street car park, behind."
Other aspects of the scheme would see the removal of the roundabout and traffic islands on New Quay Road at the junction with Langbourne Road and Station Square to make way for wider pavements, new seating, planters and trees.
On the east of the swing bridge, more space will be allocated for pedestrians to enjoy the view of the harbour.
New traffic signals are proposed at the Spital Bridge, Larpool Lane and A171 junction. The existing signalised pedestrian crossing and island would be removed, and new pedestrian crossings installed.
Cllr Neil Swannick, who represents Whitby Streonshalh on North Yorkshire Council, said:
"I hope that Whitby residents will take part in this consultation. Making the Spital Bridge, Larpool Lane and A171 junction more user-friendly both for pedestrians and road users, and improving the Tin Ghaut turning circle will hopefully make life easier on the east side, especially when the bridge is closed.
“The proposed new road layout with wider pavements on the west side will be safer and reflects changing priorities.”
A number of exhibitions will be held at Whitby Coliseum Centre theatre with project officers on hand to answer any questions.
The first is today (Friday, November 10) from 10am to 7pm.
The other dates and times are as follows:
- Wednesday, November 15, from 10am to 7pm.
- Saturday, November 18, from 11am to 4pm.
Maps and images for all six zones can be found at can be found at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/your-council/consultations-and-engagement/current-consultations/whitby-public-realm-consultation
The consultation will close on Friday 22 December 2023.