Thursday 18th July 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Crawling Into The Gutter With Whitby Town Council

Crawling Into The Gutter With Whitby Town Council

Whitby resident NIGEL WARD offers readers the opportunity to consider his Open Letter to SBC Councillor Mike COCKERILL, Chair of the Whitby Harbour Board.


Councillor Mike COCKERILL – SBC & NYCC



As you know, I attended the meeting of the (pilot) Whitby Harbour Board (WHB) on Monday 3rd October 2011.

In the aftermath of the disgraceful series of letters from certain members of the WHB to the Whitby Town (Parish) Council (WTC), I was astonished to see that Mr Edwin BLACK and Mr Tony HORNIGOLD had taken their seats on the Board.

It was my expectation that, being mindful of the scepticism and mistrust with which the Board is viewed by the people of Whitby, their resignations would have already been tendered and accepted.

Later in the day, I attended the meeting of the WTC Harbour Committee, where I came into possession of a letter dated 3rd October 2011 from Mr Ian ANDERSON, SBC’s Head of Legal & Support Services, that contained the most insincere and derisory pasquinade of an apology that I have ever encountered:

“I apologise on behalf of the Borough Council for any misunderstanding that may have developed in relation to the arrangements for attendance at the WHUCG (Whitby Harbour-users’ Consultative Group).”

Mr Anderson apologises? It was not he who gave offense.

On behalf of the Borough Council? It was the WHB delegation to the WHCG who gave offense.

‘Misunderstanding’? There has been no ‘misunderstanding’.

Mr ANDERSON is, of course, referring to the ‘misunderstanding’ that Mr Brian BENNET, SBC’s Head of Tourism & Culture, attending the meeting by invitation, took it upon himself without any authority, to evict two elected members of Whitby Town (Parish) Council, with the equally unauthorised assistance of Mr Edwin BLACK? What was Mr BENNETT’s rationale for that action, he must have known that the Whitby Harbour Board was entitled to only one representative – not the three who were allowed to attend – just as was the Whitby Town (Parish) Council.

Or is Mr ANDERSON referring to the ‘misunderstanding’ of Mr Edwin BLACK’s subsequent letter to Whitby Town (Parish) Council, with its flagrantly offensive language and its ludicrous and entirely fictional allegation regarding Councillor HAVELOCK “growling into the back of Mrs Dale’s head”?

I leave till last the incomprehensible ‘misunderstanding’ of the now infamous letter the message of which came to light at last night’s WTC Harbour Committee meeting – I refer, of course, to the letter from Mr Tony HORNIGOLD to Whitby Town Mayor John FREEMAN, in which Mr HORNIGOLD informed the Mayor that he has :

“no desire to crawl into the gutter to communicate with Whitby Town Council”?

“Crawl into the gutter”? Have your members taken leave of their senses? Were they sober?

Have you ever in your entire career encountered such utterly unacceptable and unjustifiably provocative conduct? Is this how the Whitby Harbour Board expects to conduct its duty of consultation with the elected representatives of Whitby, the Whitby Town (Parish) Council?

You must know that such conduct is intolerable.

If the (pilot) Whitby Harbour Board was not predestined (one might say ‘doomed’) to failure from the moment of its inception – as many predicted and now confidently await – then Mssrs BENNETT, BLACK and HORNIGOLD have certainly succeeded in speeding it on its way.

When you courageously raised your head above the parapet in 2009, to caution against the imprudent appointment of Mrs Pam DOBSON as Whitby Town Clerk, Mike, you may have inadvertently booked yourself a passage on a sinking ship – a ship that we well know would never have been sent to sea with a Conservative Councillor at the helm.

Unless it is your purpose to render the (pilot) Whitby Harbour Board a by-word for autocracy and unaccountability, your only honourable course is to demand resignations without further delay.

Kind regards,


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