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Whitby Harbour Case to be Heard Next Week

Friday, 1 March 2024 15:20

By Anttoni James Numminen, Local Democracy Reporter

Campaigners say they ‘just want it done’ as the Whitby Harbour case goes to London’s Royal Courts of Justice.

The long-running dispute centres on an objection made by the Fight4Whitby pressure group which argues that more income has been taken out of the harbour by the council than has been spent on it.

North Yorkshire Council has confirmed that a hearing will be held next week at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The pressure group launched a legal challenge in 2016 based on the 1905 Whitby Urban District Council Act, arguing that income from Whitby Harbour should be used within the harbour.

The dispute has meant that the former Scarborough Borough Council’s (SBC) accounts dating back to 2015/16 have not been signed off.

Joyce Stangoe, the secretary of Fight4Whitby, said there had been an “agreement on some of the harbour land” with the council’s auditors, but that the “main argument which centres on the upper harbour” was still in dispute.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service on Friday (March 1), she said:

“I’m glad it’s finally going to conclude because after eight years this is just ridiculous.”

She said she was hopeful about a favourable ruling that would see money “ringfenced and reserved for use in Whitby Harbour” which she described as being in “a complete state of disrepair”.

However, Joyce Stangoe added that were the ruling to go in the council’s favour, the group was unlikely to appeal the decision.

The pressure group’s secretary said it had so far spent around £80,000 in legal costs and had managed to fundraise £30,000 but still needed £50,000.

North Yorkshire Council’s assistant director for transport, Paul Thompson, said:

“We are committed to the delivery of a thriving harbour in Whitby and whilst we would not specifically comment on a live legal case we welcome the clarification and final determination by the courts that is required to resolve this longstanding matter.”

Joyce Stangoe added:

“We just hope that they uphold the 1905 Act intended to protect Whitby Harbour for the benefit of Whitby residents.”

 

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