Successful Whitby conference focuses on tourism and the economy

On a slightly foggy day on the 17th September, Forum members gathered in Whitby to hear about the experiences and future plans from a number of its guest speakers.


The chairman Cllr. Godfrey Allanson provided the opening address and welcome focusing on the important benefits of having the Coastal Forum as a crucial mechanism for open debate and discussion about local and national coastal issues. 


Cllr. Allanson said ‘There is no other opportunity to discuss these matters as a group and the Forum acts as an information portal to ensure members are aware of all coastal issues. We hope that attendees spread the word about the work of the Forum so that it can continue to thrive into the future. In a challenging financial climate this is more important than ever’.


He also asked for any potential sponsors to come forward if they wish to provide funds (however small) towards the running of the Forum into the future.


We then heard from Joanna Stockill, Marine Planning Manager from the Marine Management Organisation on the process of producing a Marine Plan for the East coast from Flamborough to Felixstowe. The need for Marine Spatial Plans around the English coastline was formally agreed and legislated on as part of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.  The east coast plan, launched in June 2014, is the first of its kind and a blueprint for a further 10 Marine Plans to be produced in the future. Lessons learned from the process were also explained as well as the opportunity to question the speaker on the future delivery of the plan.


Anne Hornigold MBE then updated us on the Whitby and District Fishing School and the training opportunities that the school provides not only for young apprentices but for adults wanting to further their skills in seafaring activities. The School is developing a growing reputation around the UK for excellence and is attracting students from as far afield as Cornwall and Scotland.


Parkol Marine is continuing in the great tradition of ship building along the Esk in Whitby and the companies Project Manager and Director Sally Atkinson gave us a detailed explanation of the history of the business as well as the prospective future that the company is hoping to develop. Over 30 vessels have been built at the shipyard and the facilities available at the site, such as the dry dock, are an attraction for a number of UK fishing fleets to carry out inspections and repairs to their boats.


Sharing ideas and discussion over lunch

Sharing ideas and discussion over lunch

Following the break Harry Collett [ghost walker and Tourism Association member] gave us all a run-down of the history of tourism in the town and the competition to attract tourism within the borough. He explained that there are 3 ways of achieving success ‘the right way, the wrong way and the Whitby way’ – the mantra is still ringing in my ears !!.


Skipper Bryan Clarkson from Whitby Whale Watching enthused about the proliferation of whale numbers along our coast at this time of year as they follow the herring through the migration routes. Minke, Sei and Humpback Whales are recent sightings from Whitby over the last two weeks but alas foggy weather conditions have kept the sightseeing boats in the harbour over the last few days. Whitby has a long history of whaling activity but thankfully today’s eco tourism business is more about conservation and education rather than it’s more traditional meat and oil processing industry.


Derek Queenan from East Barnby Outdoor Centre showed us how this NYCC service provides adventure and activity holidays and events for all ages within a safe controlled environment. Facilities at East Barnby and Fryup outdoor centres were promoted not only for school groups but for outdoor enthusiasts and organised groups as well.


To complete the mornings topics, John Beech, the Heritage Coast and Forum Officer explained how he is working on the task of writing a new management plan for the Heritage Coast between Saltburn and Scarborough. He illustrated some of the great successes that have taken place on the coast as a result of actions from the previous plan. Ideas and comments from the consultation on a new plan that took place over the summer will be built into the new Heritage Coast plan. A draft copy of the new plan will be put on the Coastal Forum website in November before completion and a formal launch in early 2015


 Unfortunately following lunch, the trip to sea for whale watching was cancelled due to weather conditions but members did have the chance to explore the harbour and lower Esk by boat to look at various developments. Meanwhile Harry took a separate party of members through a foggy and atmospheric Whitby to round off the day.

Forum members aboard the Esk Belle

Forum members looking at developments along the Esk in Whitby


Thanks to all the members of the Coastal Forum that attended and especially the guest speakers. With tricky financial times ahead I hope that members appreciate and understand the importance of continuing to show support the Forum and the fountain of coastal knowledge and information that is shared at these events.

The presentations can be accessed using the below links:


MMO- East Marine Plans

Parkol Marine Engineering ltd

Whitby Fishing Industry Training Centre

NYMNPA Heritage Coast- Looking back and planning ahead



 Please keep a lookout for further news on the website soon

John Beech

Heritage Coast / Coastal Forum Officer




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