Whitby town poll: Residents vote overwhelmingly in favour of restrictions on second home ownership

Whitby parish residents have voted overwhelmingly to introduce restrictions on second home ownership in a rare town poll.

Results published this morning by Scarborough Council, who oversaw the election, show that 2,111 voters said they were in favour of allowing all newbuild homes to be reserved as local occupancy and year-round dwellings in perpetuity. There were only 157 votes against.

The referendum also asked voters if they wished to remain in the same local authority governance area as Scarborough when the new North Yorkshire unitary council is formed. 1,982 residents said they did not and only 253 wanted to stay part of Scarborough.

Seventy-one ballots were rejected for various reasons, including 'uncertainty' and concerns an elector could be identified by their mark.

Whitby Harbour

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With an electorate of just over 10,000 registered voters, turnout was 22.72 per cent.

Monday’s ballot, which was called following a town meeting last month, cannot force through any policy and the council explained that it is “no more and no less than an expression of the views of the electorate of the parish who have voted in the poll, and is not binding on any organisation”.

Scarborough Council will now assess measures that could be introduced to resolve the issues around second homes and holiday lets, which locals fear are pricing them out of the property market.

Whitby Community Network said in a statement on Tuesday: “The poll results clearly demonstrate the strength of feeling in the local community on these two issues.

“We trust that our elected councillors will take note and take action.

“Thanks to all the people who helped to make the poll happen - to all the voters who turned out in person - and to all the staff who took part in the late night count.”