Wednesday 29th May 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

WTC: Annual Assembly 25/03/24

March 22, 2024 Whitby Town

WTC: Annual Assembly 25/03/24

  • – an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, promoting the annual opportunity to examine what your Town Council is doing for you.

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On Monday 25th March 2024, at 6:30pm, the Annual Town Assembly/Meeting of electors of the Parish of Whitby will take place in the theatre at the Coliseum Centre in Whitby.

The meeting will be chaired by Councillor Bob DALRYMPLE the Mayor of Whitby – if he attends – or, in his absence, by the Deputy Town Mayor, Councillor Jonathan HARSTON. In the absence of either, electors will elect a Chair for the Meeting from amongst their own numbers.

The opportunity arises, at the Meeting, for electors to question the Council’s performance over the past twelve months. Questions must be constrained to parochial matters.

It can be anticipated that some of these questions will relate to the Town Council’s poor record of engagement with the public; its minimal social media presence and its customary practice of negating or failing to publicise opportunities for public engagement.

Electors may hope to learn what, if anything, has become of the matters Resolved at the last Annual Town Meeting on 22nd March 2023

In general terms, electors may wish to ascertain what, if anything, the Council has achieved during the past twelve months that could reasonably be considered to promote its proud Mission Statement to make Whitby “A better Place to Live, Work and Play”.

More specifically, close observers of the Council’s performance may hope for an explanation as to why the Council conducts the bulk of its business (such as it is) within the confines of its excessive Committee structure, where decisions are made and ratified by a small group of Councillors, largely outside of the public gaze.

What, for example, has the Town Development & Improvement Committee accomplished in terms of developments and/or improvements within the town? The Public Record offers no enlightenment. Certainly, it would appear to have had no impact whatsoever on the Whitby Town Deal Board’s senseless commitment to building a 3/4-storey Maritime Training Hub on Endeavour Wharf. Nor has it represented the overwhelming public antipathy to the ludicrous plan to build a 34sq.m horizontal ‘plinth’ (or ‘apron’) in our historic Market Place. (Is that what “levelling up” is all about?).

Similarly, the Harbour Committee has played no part in the heroic Fight4Whitby 8-year-long legal action to recover tens of millions of pounds of ring-fenced Harbour revenues to repair, maintain and develop the Harbour.

It has been left to the public to help raise money to cover the legal fees of the case and donations may be pledged here:

Some may ask when was the last time the Planning Committee responded to a Planning Application in a manner contrary to the Recommendation of NYC’s Planning Officers – and gained any traction whatsoever.

Others may wonder why the Human Resources Committee autonomously instructed a London solicitor to send a futile ‘cease and desist’ letter to an impoverished Whitby pensioner whose criticisms of the Council were fully subtantiated by hard evidence.

And how could it be that the Finance, Policy & General Purposes Committee overlooked (for eight months!) a £40K deficit in public toilets revenue and a dysfunctional credit card machine accepting no payments? Roll over, Councillor Rip van WINKLE!

Teachers, parents and students can be expected to ask what help or support Whitby Town Council has leant to the campaign to preserve a choice for secondary school students in Whitby and the surrounding area. Good luck with that one.

Business operators, hoteliers, restaurateurs and publicans, as well as residents (present and past), will hope to learn details of Whitby Town Council’s efforts to achieve a comprehensive traffic and parking plan for the town to alleviate the holiday log-jams.

And everybody who is aware of it will want to know why £246K of this year’s £283K Precept was spent on staffing costs for churning out Agendas and Minutes (often incorrectly dated, if published at all) for meetings that serve no useful purpose.

Some may ask: “Do we need a Town Council?”

Some may respond: “No. It serves no purpose. It should be abolished”.

Roll up, folks. You have nothing to lose but your democracy.

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