Sunday 14th July 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer


June 15, 2024 Whitby Town


  • – an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, previewing the by-election for the Casual Vacancy at Whitby Town Council’s Stakesby Ward, to be held on Thursday 20th June 2024. The Polling Station – at Marton Court Community Centre, Marton Court, Whitby – will be open from 7:00am until 10:00pm.


For the first time in far too many years, Whitby Town Councillors are about to be joined by a democratically elected Councillor – the only one to be chosen by the voting public.

Encouragingly, this will be the first of three such opportunities – Casual Vacancies have also arisen in West Cliff Ward and in Town North Ward.

Contrary to the prediction of many existing Town Councillors, who have repeatedly attempted to excuse their lack of a democratic mandate on the grounds that no-one is ever willing to stand against them, this Stakesby Ward by-election has attracted three candidates for a single seat – Peter BOLTON [Lab.], Phil PEMBERTON and Amanda SMITH (who has previously served on the Council for many years).

The candidates, presented alphabetically, are as follows:


I am disappointed to see the Labour Party fielding a candidate under its banner; Whitby Town Council has traditionally – and quite rightly – prided itself on being an apolitical body, undivided by party-political allegiances, so that members may represent their electors and residents without bowing to the constraints of a Party Whip.

Indeed, one might reasonably suspect that, were it not for the forthcoming General Election on 4th July, Mr BOLTON may not have been called upon to throw his hat in the ring at all. Certainly, his campaign leaflet reportedly makes much of the Labour presence, whilst betraying a poor understanding of the minimal ‘powers’ of Town & Parish Councils.

Unlike the other candidates, he has not submitted a campaign statement to the Enquirer – perhaps because he was recently lampooned in Guido Fawkes’ national satirical website Order-Order (for supporting a Labour candidate who has since left the Labour Party), subsequently featured on the Enquirer:


Phil is a relative new-comer to Whitby, having only recently moved here. He comes across as a worldly and well-meaning recruit with the town’s best interests at heart.

His campaign statement speaks for itself:

Hello, and may I introduce myself and explain why I am standing as the Stakesby Whitby Town Councillor.

My name is Phil Pemberton and I moved to Whitby, at the end of September 2023, after living in Leeds all my life.

I had a 30-year career in catering, as a head chef in both the NHS, and the Army Catering Corp. I then worked for 8 years as a Life Skills instructor, with adults with autism, moving on to a transitioning-to-work role, and finding employment for clients.
I was a Bushcraft Survival Instructor, working for Ray Mears, for 4 seasons, so I am adaptable, able to problem-solve, and care for large client groups and staff.
I ran a Care Farm for 4 years, working with prisoners, out on license; 20 profoundly disabled people and young adults totally excluded from education.
I finished off my working career running my own Landscaping business, so I have a full, working knowlege of how businesses struggle to make a living each day.
I have seen how wonderful and amazing Whitby is, and I don’t want to be a tourist, but rather someone who contributes to the town, serves it, and helps to make the changes that have been so lacking in the past.
Thank you, and I hope you will consider me as your next Stakesby Town Councillor.

Phil Pemberton

Phil assures me that, should he fail to achieve election next Thursday, he is determined to stand for one or other of the upcoming vacancies.


Finally, the third candidate, Amanda SMITH, should be well known to Whitby residents – not only for her many years’ service on Whitby Town Council, but also for her sterling work with Whitby in Bloom. Readers may also recall her landmark speech at the Extraordunary Meeting of Full Council on 26th September 2023, when she put former Councillor Noreen WILSON (whose departure facilitated this by-election) to shame in no uncertain terms. Well worth revisiting:

Amanda SMITH’s campaign statement follows, below:

I have lived, worked, raised a family, volunteered, and loved Whitby for over 33 years.
I am standing for election to Whitby Town Council because I believe in Democracy. Although a Green Party member, I am standing as an independent because I believe that Town Councillors should be free to represent their constituents and not be shackled by party politics.

The residents of Whitby deserve a democratically elected, fully functioning town council.
Life is hard and we need a powerful voice to lobby at regional and national level for our town. We need  decent health provision in Whitby, we need an education service that delivers for our children, we need affordable housing, we need public transport, we need so many things.
The first step is to have a Town Council that is respected. A Town Council, democratically elected and made up of people willing to listen and work for what our town needs.

Please vote on June 20th (preferably for me) and prove Whitby wants a democratic, fully functioning Council.

Amanda Smith

Choose wisely, electors of Stakesby Ward. The re-democratisation of Whitby Town Council starts here.

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