Fears that pop-up 300-metre zip wires planned for Whitby this summer could 'turn the town into Blackpool'

Fears have been raised that a proposal to install two 300-metre zip wires from the cliffs at Whitby down to its pier could turn the town into Blackpool.

The two zip lines which would take thrillseekers down from the Whitby Pavilion car park to the lighthouse on the West Pier have been proposed by a company called Big Bang Promotions.

The Barnsley-based outfit has approached Scarborough Council about its plan to install two lines in time for the summer season when the coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

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In documents sent to the council, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the company stated: “The proposal would be to create a ‘pop-up’ destination attraction for the summer of 2021 between the dates of 23 June and 5 September.

Whitby West Pier

“The zip wire would create a local attraction which would attract visitors into the area, create local jobs, provide educational workshops, and boost the local visitor economy.

“The zip wire would be two lines so participants can zip alongside each other and would be an approx. length of 340 metres.”

Two possible launch points in the Pavilion car park are being proposed.

The riders would travel over the beach and the sea before arriving at a landing area “the size of six parking bays” in front of the lighthouse on the West Pier.

Scarborough Council has been seeking the views of local groups and councillors and the results do not make pleasant reading for the firm.

John Freeman, chairman of the Whitby and District Tourism Association, called the proposal an “awful idea”.

He added: “I find it amazing that anyone could even think of such a crass idea.

“It is totally out of keeping with the image Whitby wishes to project. We are not Blackpool or Scarborough and certainly do not want to go down that road.”

Whitby Civic Society and town council have also objected to the proposals.

At a recent meeting of the town council Coun Garath Jackson said: “Representing the West Cliff area, it would not look right within the area, and would have a detrimental effect on buildings and the landscape.

“The issues are around parking and crowds, the issues around landing on the pier does not sit right and it is not the type of tourist attraction that we want in Whitby.

“It would not improve the lives of people in Whitby.”

The council voted unanimously to object to the proposal, which has not yet been submitted as a planning application.

Jon Snape, managing director of Big Bang Promotions, confirmed it was in the “very early stages” of discussions with the council.

He added: “Scarborough Council are themselves proactive and are looking keenly at what we can offer Whitby.”

Scarborough Council has confirmed it has been involved in talks but said no decision on whether it would move forward had been made.

Nick Edwards, Scarborough Borough Council director, said: “We have been approached by an external company asking us to consider a draft proposal for a temporary dual line zip wire in Whitby as a ‘pop up’ attraction for this summer.

“Before we make a decision on whether to consider the proposal further, we are seeking the views of key stakeholder organisations in the town, including Whitby Town Council.”