Car park to be transformed into 'maritime industries hub' to boost harbour jobs in Whitby

Plans for Whitby’s £10m Maritime Hub that seeks the ‘rebirth of industry’ in the town have been officially submitted.

Plans have been submitted for the construction of a multi-million pound, three-storey maritime centre at Endeavour Wharf, on Langborne Road, Whitby that could provide space for businesses and employment opportunities.

The hub – which is funded through £17.1m awarded by the government’s Towns Fund – aims to “drive the rebirth of the town’s maritime industry by providing new opportunities” including workshops, laboratories, and space for start-ups.

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The majority of the site has been used as a public car park for the past 20 years and the north and east sides provide access to moored vessels for loading and unloading goods.

Endeavour Wharf, WhitbyEndeavour Wharf, Whitby
Endeavour Wharf, Whitby

Endeavour Wharf is still set to retain around 200 parking spaces.

North Yorkshire Council said that if its plan was approved, the hub would place Whitby at the “forefront of the expanding offshore renewable industries in the North Sea and will also boost job opportunities for the local community”.

The council’s corporate director of community development, Nic Harne, said: “We have received some suggestions that following Eskdale School’s merger with Caedmon College this summer, the school site would be a better location.

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“But existing and potential future tenants of the wharf have stated they need direct access to the water and as such the school site would not be a suitable alternative.”

The 0.9-hectare area on Langborne Road is opposite a supermarket building and Whitby Station.

The proposed building would provide workshops on the ground floor that would house the current wharf operations of the Harbour Authority, as well as provide space for marine biology and an expansion of “emerging industries” including offshore wind.

The Harbour Master’s office would be on the first floor whilst space for start-ups and existing maritime businesses would be on the first and second floors.

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Local, regional, and national businesses and organisations could occupy these spaces, the council hopes, increasing Whitby’s maritime activity.

However, concerns have been raised by some groups about the level of engagement with calls for the project to be halted and reviewed.

In a town poll held last autumn – which had a turnout of 3 per cent – a majority of residents said that Whitby Town Council should “petition the Department for Levelling Up to halt and re-examine” the scheme.

Whitby Community Network said that “the problem with the Town Deal project for the Maritime Hub is that the majority of residents simply do not know about them, due to a background of poor communication and inadequate consultation”.

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But the planning consultation process included “at least nine public events and exhibitions, more than 30,000 engagements/views via electronic and social and traditional media and more than 400 direct contributions, 10 Town Deal Board meetings and over 30 development meetings,” the council said.

It added that “69 per cent of those who responded to the survey were supportive of the scheme”.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for open to business, Derek Bastiman, said he believed the hub would “open the door to new economic and tourism growth for Whitby and Scarborough”.

The application is currently being considered by the planning authority and residents can make representations to the council.

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