The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Tuesday 18th July 2006 - Whitby's 'jackboot of bureaucracy'

See this letter in The Stage online, published 10 July:

'Oppressive Act'

'Your article (June 29, page 2) on Shaun Woodward's warning to heavy handed councils prompts me to tell you about the crazy antics of Scarborough Borough Council and the Whitby Harbour Masters Office.

'It all started with the decision that the traditional bandstand on the pier, just past the amusement arcades at Scotch Head, needed to be licensed for music. There was an objector. It was only licensed after practically giving the Harbour Master's Office carte blanche to say what could go on in the way of music and what could not, along the whole of Whitby harbour side. This means that the Harbour Master is moving buskers away from pitches they have traditionally used for many years. The odd group that is amplified may not be popular with some of the locals but the buskers are popular with tourists who appreciate that they contribute to the colour that has recently given the resort such high ratings in media awards.

'Whitby is a top venue for music and arts festivals and its success as such is being threatened by the jackboot of bureaucracy described above. Additionally, a planning application by the organisers of Whitby Musicport, a successful World Music Festival, to convert the old Quaker Meeting House into an arts centre has been refused by Scarborough Borough Council, forcing Musicport to consider pulling out of Whitby. At the same planning meeting permission was given for yet another nightclub in the town centre which will not be hosting live music.

'Clearly, the way the Licensing Act is being applied by Scarborough Borough Council in respect of Whitby is oppressive.

'Tony Morris, South View, Whitby, North Yorkshire'

Hamish Birchall