Polling day approaches in Whitby as town prepares to hold vote on holiday homes and council split

Residents of Whitby are set to take part in a referendum that could pave the way for radical changes to housing legislation and local government.

On Monday, the resort’s residents will go to the polls and vote on two questions that were agreed at a previous town meeting, which had been called in response to concerns over how much of the town’s homes were being consigned to holiday accommodation and a desire to cut local government ties with the neighbouring coastal town of Scarborough.

Polling stations are being set up at eight locations around the town and voters will be asked give a yes or no answer to the questions “Should all new build and additional housing in Whitby parish be restricted to full-time local occupation as a primary residence only and forever (in perpetuity)?” and “Do you want to stay in the same area committee as Scarborough in the new North Yorkshire unitary council?”

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On Monday, Whitby residents go to the polls and vote on two questions in response to concerns over how much of the town’s homes were being consigned to holiday accommodation and a desire to cut local government ties with the neighbouring coastal town of Scarborough.

A campaigner said: “The mechanism of using a town poll to call for action on local issues of concern has been used or attempted by the townsfolk of Whitby several times over the past 22 years.

“It appears to be the last resort available to local communities. The result is in no way binding on any organisations or authority but, unlike many opinion polls and consultations, is generally regarded as a valid and representative expression of local opinion if the turnout is sufficient.

“It is, in effect, a referendum under Electoral Commission rules designed to ensure all residents have an equal opportunity to express their views.”