Sunday 23rd June 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer



A Letter to the Editor from BOB ROBERTS, one of Scarborough’s leading maritime and harbours afficionados, decrying North Yorkshire Council’s abandonment of our coastal communities.



Only this week in Prime Minister’s Question Time, the PM responded to a question put to him by Jonathan Lord, MP for Woking (Surrey) – quite obviously an MP who has his finger on the pulse of his constituents.

In answering the question, Rishi Sunak very proudly proclaimed that;

We [Tories, presumably?] believe in local people having a say on what happens in their local community.”  

Quite obviously, that belief has not filtered down to those at his nearby Tory-led stronghold in County Hall, Northallerton, who have fought tooth-and-nail against the local community in Scarborough by appointing, as the Chair of the Town Deal Board, Mr David Kerfoot CBE DL (also Northallerton-based) as someone who could not – even in your wildest dreams – be described as local to Scarborough, living over 55 miles away from the community he is appointed to serve.

Kerfoot is overseeing the spending of £20 million in Scarborough, much of it going into unwanted (by the local community) projects around the Harbour.

To add insult to this injury, on the same day, NYC  at County Hall (which is  located some 53 miles distant from Scarborough) announced the removal from his longstanding position an entirely Scarborough man who has in his toolbox the full range range of tools considered essential to serving well his community, excellent local knowledge and a detailed understanding of the needs of the community he stood to serve.

Now we have some chap called Mark Crane who, incredibly, is a Councillor from Selby. Cllr Crane has, quite unbelievably, been handed the role of responsibility for Harbours. Selby is 44 miles distant from Scarborough. None of these farming-led communities, with their history steeped in spuds, could credibly lay claim to be the font of all knowledge with anything maritime-related or serving the needs of coastal communities.

Then, of course, we have the unelected David Kerfoot CBE DL – foisted on us by Richard Flinton, the lead officer as CEO of NYC, with his obvious agenda for Scarborough. He lives 55 miles from Scarborough.

When contacted, Councillor Crane tells me he has “limited experience of anything maritime”. Well he should feel very much at home in County Hall, over there with the “Ploughboys” – none of whom have the faintest idea of the needs of our coastal communities. Not the faintest idea.

Talk about “Distance Learning”? Surely the people of Scarborough & Whitby deserve better? Surely the pot of Council talent considered “local to Scarborough” is not that dry – or is it?

Tribalism at its very worst!

Is this what Rishi Sunak meant by “local communities having a say on what happens in their communities”? Or was his statement only applicable in the leafy suburbs of Surrey?

If North Yorkshire falls to Labour, then the blame will rest firmly at the doors to County Hall.

Perhaps Mr Sunak could intervene on our behalf, or alternatively explain the Tory definition of ‘local”?

Yours, etc

Bob Roberts

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