Labour Councillors propose cut to number of councillors in North Yorkshire

In their first policy announcement of the new year prior to local elections in May, Scarborough Borough Council Labour Group has called for a reduction in the number of councillors representing the borough’s area from 64 to 28. This would be part of a radical shake-up of local councils, by creating one council providing all services instead of the present two – North Yorkshire County Council and Scarborough Borough Council. In the Borough Council area there are currently 50 Borough Councillors and 14 County Councillors. More

Musical chairs on Scarborough Borough Council

colinI’m pleased to say that the Labour Group is now the ‘official’ opposition on Scarborough Borough Council – no, not because we have won yet another by-election – but because the forces of the right seem to be engaging in a pre-election game of musical chairs. The ‘Independent’ group has now lost two members, one to the Tories (giving them overall control of the Council by one vote) and the other to UKIP. This means that UKIP can once again call itself a group – even though both members were not elected to the Council under the UKIP banner. More

Art? What’s that then?


Cllr Colin Chalen

Cllr Colin Chalen

I recently organised a meeting of the Scarborough Arts and Culture Forum, a group that meets every two months or so to consider the state of the arts in the area. The meeting took place in the Old Parcels Office on Platform One of Scarborough railway station. The building has been gutted and prepared for the day when it can be converted into artists’ studios. More

Labour Group censored?

A debate on tax avoidance at the next meeting of Scarborough Borough Council has been prevented on the grounds that a Labour Group motion was allegedly not submitted in time and besides did not deal with something to do with the budget or was within the council’s ‘policy framework.’ This is despite the motion calling for a fairer funding regime for local government.  More

Spin and delusion – making the figures add up

colinThe Government is ecstatic. Employment figures are high, unemployment is decreasing. Economists have been scratching their heads, seeking an explanation as to how this can possibly be the case when we are still suffering the after- effects of a bad recession. For the Government, there is no question that things are ticketyboo, and so concern about employment may be assigned to the back burner.

I don’t go along with this complacent attitude. More

Scarborough Walk-in Health Centre – threatened closure

For the last four weeks I have been gathering signatures on a petition to keep Scarborough’s Castle walk-in health centre open.

From left to right: Sarah Forsyth, Dr Phil Garnett, Simon Cox and Cllr Colin Challen.

From left to right: Sarah Forsyth, Dr Phil Garnett, Simon Cox and Cllr Colin Challen.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants to close it in October this year and open something else up – they won’t say precisely what or where – in April 2015. This is in the name of improving urgent care services. But since it opened in 2009 the Castle centre has proved very successful, and this has been borne out by the number of people wanting to show their support for it. Combined with Facebook ‘likes’, the petition has attracted getting on for 2,500 supporters. People have told me how essential the centre has been to them. One man told me how he thought it had saved his elderly neighbour’s life – a woman who felt that she could not wait till Monday to see her GP when she felt ill. It was a Saturday, so her neighbour took her to the walk-in service, who immediately referred her to the hospital for a life threatening condition.  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

Castle Health Walk-in Centre threatened with closure

Proposals for changes in the delivery of urgent care in Scarborough, which could lead to the closure of the Castle Health Walk-in Centre in York Place are to be challenged in a petition launched by Castle Ward Councillor Colin Challen today. Click the link to open/ download a copy of the petition. petition – Castle Health Walk-in

Cllr Colin Challen

Cllr Colin Challen

The petition calls for the walk in centre to be kept open. Councillor Challen said: “The Clinical Commissioning Group has a duty in my view and that of many others to keep a walk-in centre in Scarborough town centre. The existing centre has easy access and is much praised by its thousands of users. It has an experienced team, and after five years in operation. Keeping it open should be a no-brainer. More

Q: Fracking? A: No-one knows enough

Scarborough and Whitby Labour Party has called for a moratorium on fracking – the highly controversial method of extracting gas from shale deposits. Scarborough and large swathes of North Yorkshire sit on such a deposit known as the Bowland, which some believe contains massive gas reserves.

The Party wants a much deeper factual analysis of what fracking risks in terms of pollution, the environment, earthquakes and climate change. Colin Challen, who proposed the moratorium, said “The Tory-led government has announced it is offering various financial inducements to speed up fracking, and so has decided that the debate is over – or more precisely that there is not a debate to be had about this technology in the place. But there needs to be a full assessment of it before we could possibly accept it locally. I am also not convinced that it would not impact on climate change, since if it is true that fracking would lower energy costs then investment in clean energy sources will be much more difficult to sustain. It will put a brake on tackling climate change even if gas has lower carbon emissions than coal, but that would only be a temporary advantage.” More