Planning for a better Borough

Scarborough Borough Council’s Labour group of councillors has agreed to start work on a set of policies to take to the public in next year’s borough council elections. The first stage of drawing up a manifesto will involve a six month consultation period ending after the Labour Party conference in September. Labour councillors are seeking the views of local communities, businesses, and voluntary groups as well as party members and others in drawing up their plans. They aim to be as inclusive as possible. More

What price public health?

Recently I wrote to Don McKenzie (portfolio holder with responsibility for public health) at North Yorkshire County Council) because of concerns that had been raised with me cinder trackby members of a local community group – ‘Friends of the Old Railway’. I play a very small part in the organisation giving what support I can, to a dedicated group of people trying to protect and promote this wonderful community asset, the Cinder Track, that stretches along the coast from Scarborough to Whitby. The route provides fantastic access to our dramatic coastline and the North York Moors National Park; as well as providing a safe off-road route for pedestrians and cyclists in the urban sections at either end. I am also a member of the North York Moors National Park Authority, which recognises the strategic importance of this asset and we were very disappointed when our £5m bid to Government to improve cycling infrastructure in our National Park was unsuccessful. Well over a 1000 trips per day are made along the Cinder Track in urban Scarborough; some for recreational purposes but most simply as a way of getting about. The route is strategically important for many reasons but specifically in relation to tourism and in the promotion of North Yorkshire County Council’s Public Health agenda. The bid included £2m to bring the track surface up to a decent condition and emphasised the benefits that improving the track would bring not only to sustainable tourism and a cleaner environment but also to public health, by encouraging everyday physical activity. More

Four year freeze would hit residents hard

Members of the Labour Group on Scarborough Borough Council will support a recommendation to increase council tax by 1.94% at a meeting of the local authority on Friday. sbro_town_hall
Labour leader, Eric Broadbent says the implications for accepting a council tax freeze for a fourth year in a row will have damaging consequences for residents.
Cllr Broadbent said: “Across the country local authorities, including Tory controlled councils are having to make tough spending decisions because of the unnecessary and unwanted austerity measures being forced on local people by Central Government who seem hell bent on the eradication of public services. There can’t be many people in the Borough who really believe that ‘we’re all in it together.’ More

Resounding Win for Labour’s Tony Randerson in Eastfield

Tony Randerson

RESIDENTS in Eastfield elected Labour Party candidate Tony Randerson on Thursday 21 November in a by-election that followed the resignation of Lib/Dem Councillor Geoff Evans.

Councillor Randerson gained a runaway victory for Labour, capturing a 49% share of the vote, leaving the Conservative candidate trailing in third place with just 5%.

Election Candidate Party Votes %
 Mr Tony Randerson Labour 310 49% Elected
 Mr Jonathan Dodds UK Independence Party 175 28% Not elected
 Carole Lucille Gerada Independent 96 15% Not elected
 Mr William Baines Conservative 32 5% Not elected
 Ms Annette Hudspeth Green Party 11 2% Not elected
 Mrs Dawn Maxwell Independent 10 2% Not elected

More

Cautious Thumbs up for Sports Village

Members of the Labour Group on Scarborough Council have welcomed a decision to push ahead with proposals to develop a sports village in the Town; despite having serious concerns about the way in which the scheme is being managed. More

A Fair Deal for Ramshill

ramshillroad Scarborough’s ‘bellwether” council seat changes hands as Ramshill Ward falls to Labour’s Steve Siddons in by-election.

Labour’s Steve Siddons topped a by-election poll (22 August) in Scarborough’s Ramshill ward, leaving the Borough’s Tories, who had held the seat, in third place.
Surveyor Steve Siddons noted the once-controlling Tory Group, after a series of blunders, had lost the trust of residents to manage the Borough’s historical assets.
He said,  stevesiddons001“Ramshill is the centre for several planned key Council developments over the next few years. Having watched recent administrations make a dump of Atlantis, a dump of Mr Marvels, and a dump of Kinderland, all in the North Bay, Ramshill voters don’t want “them” moving south into Ramshill to make the same mistakes here.
“I welcome the chance to give serious and considered scrutiny to the plans for Ramshill, our wonderful heritage mustn’t be devalued any more. It is time people with aspirations and who can inspire had their say.”

Local Labour Leader Cllr Eric Broadbent said: “A seat in Ramshill was last won by Labour in 2003 when we had a Labour government and a Labour MP, this “bellwether” seat result forecasts welcome major changes to come.”

John Ritchie – County Councillor for Falsgrave and Stepney

Well we did it! And when I say “we” I mean we. It would take me weeks if not months to get round and thank everyone for their messages of support and congratulations.

The past couple of days have been clouded by beer and a fog of emotion I’m afraid, and I’m only just getting round to thanking people. More

“We should not be moved”

sbro_town_hallLabour Group response to Scarborough Borough Council Town Hall Accommodation Review

THE Town Hall should stay where it is according to members of the Labour Group on Scarborough Borough Council.

In an interim statement issued yesterday, the group voiced its opposition to the controversial proposals.

Colin Challen, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group said: “We first called for a public consultation on these plans in August last year; and although it’s taken other members of the council a long time to catch up we are pleased that they finally agreed to put the matter out to public consultation.

“This is our provisional response, and it will guide our decision at the full Council meeting on July 20, unless there is a significant change in the facts.”

Labour Group Leader Eric Broadbent added: “We do not believe that moving the Council’s administration out of the Town Hall into Prospect House, a property more than 3 miles away would be in the best interests of the Borough and especially not in the best interests of the town of Scarborough”.

“We acknowledge that a small saving could be made – representing perhaps one third of one per cent of the Council’s budget, but this does not outweigh the loss of such an important function in the heart of Scarborough,” said Cllr Challen.

“Setting aside the financial aspects of the deal which relate to the Joint Venture (JV) with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to redevelop the Town Hall/Futurist site, we find that using the Council’s own figures, the cost of purchasing, moving and planning, a new Customer First, and 25 years maintenance of Prospect House – minus the sale income from selling the Town Hall – would amount to £4,246,880. This compares with the £5,800,000 independent assessment of staying in the Town Hall for 25 years. Hence over a 25 year period, the move appears to be £62,124 per annum cheaper,” he added.

Cllr Broadbent went on to say: “Of course, we cannot ignore the Joint Venture, which provides the opportunity for the Council to work with the HCA to secure redevelopment of the whole site.

“The Council has secured what amounts to an advance of £3 million to facilitate its early purchase of Prospect House in a complex deal into which the Council would itself inject a further £1.8 and so provide the JV with a net working capital of £1.8 million.

“It has not been explained however what the costs of redevelopment are, nor what the value of the remainder of the site beyond the Town Hall is.

“Without these details, nor any indication of whether a high quality development which includes a major tourist attraction will be built in a timely fashion, we believe that the present economic circumstances create a significant risk that no development will take place which is satisfactory for such an important site. Scarborough could be left with its own equivalent of a ‘Bradford Hole’ which would be much more serious for a town which relies on its attraction to tourists for so much of its economy. “Set against this we would see the town centre losing 300 well paid permanent jobs and the implications of that.”

Cllr Challen said: “Our concerns also extend to the democratic function of the Council. It appears to us that this role could be sidelined if the move went ahead. Whilst it is true that not many people attend Council meetings they have an easy option to do so, but for many people getting to Eastfield would require two or more bus journeys.

“The £128,000 adaptation costs earmarked in the Prospect House move for the civic function suggests that the democratic and civic functions are foreseen as having a much diminished role in the new arrangements.

“One of the strong views enunciated in the consultation process has been how remote the Council is already perceived to be. This move would not help”.

This brief report only summarises the Labour Group’s thinking.