“Heads-Up, Carl Les”
The Enquirer is delighted to re-publish a letter (already circulating on social media) from a Scarborough resident to North Yorkshire Council Leader, Councillor Carl Les [Con.] (pictured above), highlighting the travesty of “public consultation” carried out to rubber-stamp the widely-opposed vanity project of former SBC Leader Steve Siddons [Lab.] to ‘regenerate’ (in fact, to ‘touristify’) the West Pier – at the cost of leaving the hideous former ARGOS building to blight Newborough where the long-promised Town Square should already be in place. (See artist’s impression, below).
I have only been a resident in Scarborough for the last 7 years, but in that short period I have been appalled at the lack of engagement between SBC and the electorate and even more so when the Labour party and its leader took over in 2019.
There has been a litany of ‘behind the scenes’ development proposals and attempts to push forward pet vanity projects by the leader, supported by various of his councillor buddies. Some of these ‘developments’ have never been fully realised, an example being the Argos Demolition which was vehemently objected to by locals and subesquently voted out by council at the eleventh hour.
However it is not the Argos fiasco that I’m concerned about, it is the proposed development of the West Pier in Scarborough harbour. Putting aside the fact that the East Pier has been found to be in a particularly unstable state and various areas fenced off to the public, it must surely be a possibility that the West Pier may be in a similar state (or perhaps that area has not been inspected).
Another concern is with rising sea levels that we are all being made aware of. We have already experienced flooding of existing properties in both bays following a tidal surge in December 2013 and it will happen again, but probably to more effect if sea levels continue rising. Are you able to provide justifiable and documented proof that the developers involved with the West Pier are confident in its viability? To host visitor attractions on the site taking sea level rises into consideration and notwithstanding that the area is also being used in a commercial fishing enterprise, are those responsible for putting forward this plan also aware of these potential game changers or did they choose to ignore them?
The other issue is with the financing of this development. It has been mooted that the Town Regeneration money issued by government has been hijacked to fund this enterprise. It may have not registered with the decision makers that in no way can the harbour be classed as a part of the town centre and if it is true that the funds are being misdirected, an investigation needs to take place.
My final observation is around financial viability. it seems to me (and I’ve made this observation before) that a development of this nature may not necessarily bring value for money.
Consider the fishing industry which is year-round (12 months) and which not only employs the fishermen who provide the product, but the ancilliary (but nonetheless vital) staff who support both fishermen and markets and ensure a safe environment and which provides much needed income to the town all year round.
Now consider the tourist industry that this development is meant to support. The tourist industry is majorly centered around 6 months of the year of which 3 months would be classed as peak time. This period would inevitably bring in much needed tourist money, but unless it could outdo the income from year round fishing, I believe it would be throwing good money after bad.
Finally, those who were previously in power and who came up with this development refused to engage with the stakeholders within the harbour, or the electorate within the general population, as to what was being planned, where and how it was to be financed and how much it was going to cost. This is not transparent government and since they may be using public money and not redirecting other finance, they would have been duty bound to engage with those who paid their salaries.