Scarborough & Whitby
Manifesto 2019 – 2023
Elections to Scarborough Borough Council
2 May 2019
Time For A Change
Scarborough Borough Council has been controlled for many years, with the exception of two periods in the 1990s, by a Conservative administration. During that time, the people of Scarborough and Whitby have seen a huge reduction in services along with failed regeneration projects and a decline in the preservation of our assets, all in the name of ‘austerity’. The Scarborough Conservatives have wholeheartedly supported the Government and this has seen the streets get dirtier, the bins emptied less frequently, public toilets closed, car park charges increased above inflation and major decisions made not for the many but for the few.
The Conservatives operate a model of management which means that all decisions to be taken by the Council are held in the hands of a few elected members and the remaining members have hardly any say in the way the Council is run. This has resulted in some decisions being made which are, at least, controversial and at worst, reckless.
Examples of such decisions include:
- The demolition of the Futurist Theatre
- Almost ’giving away’ much of the North Bay to one single developer
- Decimation of many valued services in the Borough
- Lending E9m to a developer to build a Water Park
- Allowing Whitby Piers to fall into disrepair
- A lack of openness and transparency in the way business has been done
May 2019 brings the opportunity to make a new start. Labour is the only viable alternative to the Conservatives. In the last 4 years of opposition, it is Labour who has consistently challenged the Conservative ideology and highlighted its failings in relation to the management of services in our Borough.
We will bring a breath of fresh air to politics in our towns and be open and transparent in the decisions we make. We will welcome the scrutiny of our decisions. We have no large financial donors who have to be satisfied. Our finances come from our membership which numbers almost 1000 in Scarborough and Whitby alone.
When making decisions for the Borough, we will be driven by what is best for the residents who live and work here. Whilst recognising the contribution big business and developers make to our economy, we will not be driven by the needs of their shareholders, but will work in partnership with them to ensure that decisions made benefit all of us. We can‘t promise to right all the wrongs made over the last few years but we promise to start that process with the following pledges.
Housing for the many
Helping residents rent a decent secure home or get on the housing ladder
Scarborough and Whitby is one of the most deprived areas in North Yorkshire and the UK as a whole. We currently have almost 3000 people on the housing waiting list across our towns and rural villages, and over the last few years the amount of truly affordable housing built to rent or buy in the Borough can practically be counted in single figures. We believe that a decent affordable home in which to live is a basic human right we owe to all our residents in the Borough of Scarborough.
- Working with our housing partner, Beyond Housing, we will accelerate a programme of buying homes for social rent and building new homes on sites identified in the local plan
- We will encourage property owners to develop or refurbish space over shops to convert into flats and also sympathetically convert disused shops in secondary shopping areas into homes to rent
- Borrow to Build – we will take up public loan opportunities to finance genuinely affordable housing for First Time Buyers and create a fund to help First Time Buyers to raise a deposit to purchase their own home at
affordable interest rate
- We will set up a local Public Mortgage Scheme to provide finance to allow residents to get on the housing ladder
- We recognise holiday homes reduce the number of houses for local people and will work towards creating a better balance where we can.
Taking pride in our communities
The Council needs to be an active partner with in communities. We will work with community leaders and individuals who are prepared to give their time, passion and expertise for the benefit of the community. Many services are no longer affordable and workforces for tasks such as keeping streets clean, dealing with fly tipping, mending broken public fences, repainting street furniture and clipping hedges have been reduced.
These are all issues that contribute to communities feeling isolated and forgotten.
We will hope to instil a sense of ownership within communities and get people working together to create a decent environment in which residents can take pride
- We will identify priorities in each area of the Borough
- Create a network of community champions
- Provide funding to purchase tools and equipment
- Create vibrant, active, cohesive communities who are stakeholders in the future of their locality
Be a greener borough
The Council has declared a Climate Emergency in the Borough and has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030. This has only happened because Labour and the Greens refused to support a Conservative amendment that would have postponed such a move.
However, this is only the start and Labour plan to make our Borough a leader in environmentally friendly initiatives.
- We will provide more recycling facilities across the Borough especially on our seafronts in Scarborough, Whitby and our smaller seaside villages
- We will work towards making the Borough plastic-free
- We will provide water fountains along our seafronts to reduce plastic bottle waste
- We will apply a surcharge on takeaways who do not support better recycling
- We will manage a tree planting programme using sponsorship
- We will extend and strengthen our conservation areas where appropriate recognising and protecting our local heritage
- We will tackle the water quality of our beaches with our YWA partners
Renew our local economy for everyone
We need to make Scarborough, Whitby and Filey not just a tourist destination but also a retail and cultural destination and a great place to live. Over the last few years we have lost many shops which were a familiar part of our high streets. Whilst online retailers are clearly part of the problem, our town centres need to be attractive and welcoming all year round.
Our business parks in Scarborough and Whitby are still largely empty because the Council sold them to the highest bidder but failed to insist on, or monitor, targets for development.
Instead of a booming cultural industry the Council has given away its cultural estate and agreed to provide continuous funding at enormous cost without a proper plan for growth or affordability.
Whitby, Filey and Scarborough town centres are historic jewels and have been allowed to decay whilst resources have been redirected to failing out-of-town schemes.
Because there has been no leadership, the opportunities offered by Enterprise Zones and Local Economic Partnerships have all been wasted.
Whilst we welcome tourists to our Borough, we recognise the additional financial burden that tourism places on residents through the Council Tax they pay. We want to see that rebalanced fairly.
- Council contracts will use local labour where possible
- We will commit to paying the Living Wage Foundation rate for Council staff
- We will work to ensure SBC procurement and commissioning expenditure is, where possible, made in the Borough and with businesses paying at least the Living Wage Foundation rate
- We will work with other key institutions in the Borough to use our collective procurement opportunities to help the public pound stay local
- We will review car parking charges to stimulate the twilight economy by making Council car parks free after 3pm on weekday afternoons to encourage more visits at quieter times
- We will review the plans for the North Bay to ensure every opportunity is explored to bring a multi-screen cinema back into Scarborough town centre to stimulate the night time economy for families
- We will, together with external auditors, fully scrutinise the contract awarded to Benchmark, the developer for Scarborough North Bay, when it comes to an end in 2020 and look for new progressive and inclusive development partnerships as we move forward.
- We will lobby government to ensure loopholes which give holiday lets an advantage over hotels and guest houses by allowing some landlords to avoid paying Council Tax or Business Rates are closed
- We will work to get fair funding of our services which are currently skewed against tourist and coastal authorities
- We will consult on a Tourist Tax to ensure visitors contribute their fair share of the cost of running public services
- We will offer eligible new independent start-up businesses discounts on business rates of 80% in Year 1, 50% in Year 2 and 30% in Year 3 to help them through their early years
Quality of Life
Make the Borough live up to its ‘Queen of the Yorkshire Coast’ title
Living by the sea is the dream of most people and that is why many people retire to the coast in later life. However, we are one of the most deprived boroughs in North Yorkshire and that is caused by a number of things relating to our coastal location such as, public transport links, road links, low wage economy, seasonal workforce, too many having to rely on foodbanks, and the challenges caused by over 5 million visitors each year.
We need to rebalance those things where possible to ensure our residents’ quality of life is not restricted by our location and our successes.
- We will reinstate as many public toilets as possible and ensure they are of a high quality
- We will work with NYCC to provide traffic-free Sundays along Scarborough seafront so that residents and visitors alike can better enjoy the benefits of the seaside without the dangers or pollution of traffic
- We will ensure the independence of planners to make the right decisions for our Borough
- We will consult on building more playparks and outdoor activity facilities to ensure both adults and children have access to free physical amenities
- We will develop a new blueprint for the Borough which will sit alongside the Local Plan concentrating on larger developments. We need a clear plan of what is actually needed in the Borough, not necessarily what some developers are prepared to give us
- We will work with rail and bus companies to develop public transport hubs adjacent to Scarborough railway station so that it is better integrated
- We will support the development of more cycle ways both on Council land and, in conjunction with NYCC, on public highways to integrate with the public transport hub
- We will support the development of more facilities for the disabled, particularly Changing Places facilities throughout the Borough
Renew the Council’s standing in our community by being more open in our decisions
Over the last few years, Scarborough Borough Council has received a great deal of bad press, some unjustified, but some deserving further consideration. A Labour Council will be clear in its management of the Borough. We will hold regular events to explain our policies and decisions. We will work for the benefit of residents first. Money spent by the Council will, wherever possible, be recycled into our community and give opportunities to our residents, particularly our young people. We will try and reduce costs further by unnecessary bureaucracy.
- We will create a clear, unambiguous financial statement, updated regularly to demonstrate where money is spent in the Borough
- We will conduct the business of the Council in an open and transparent way and encourage more public participation
- Council contracts will use local labour where possible
- We will extend the number of apprenticeships and training across all sectors in the Borough including higher skills opportunities
- We will work to ensure the removal of the two—tier local authority system which duplicates costs and stops local decision making on many issues
- The people of Scarborough, Filey and Whitby deserve better. They have suffered too long with a Council which has looked after the few rather than the many.
- Only Labour can provide the changes needed.
- Only Labour has consistently stood up against the Tories and challenged decisions and highlighted poor practices.
It is time to let Labour run our Council on behalf the residents of the Borough and in their interests. It is time to get rid of the Tories.
It is Time For A Change.