Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Whitby policing and street blockage April onwards

The recent trouble in Blackburn is just one part of an unsympathetic attitude from some in authority. After the last Whitby weekend there was a storm of protest about Scarborough councils unsympathetic approach despite the vast profits the council and town receive. It is almost as if they don't want the festival despite its success. They seem keen for it to go to Scarborough. See the letters and articles collected here from the excelleny goth friendly

Warning to street drinkers as Gothic Weekend looms

# 24 April 2007
# Source: Whitby Gazette Tuesday

By Staff Copy
WITH the first Gothic Weekend just days away, concerns have once again been raised about people drinking in the streets.
In past years people drinking in Flowergate has become an habitual problem with hundreds standing in the road, causing problems for motorists and emergency services.

The Whitby Designated Public Place Order gives police the powers to seize drinks off people who have them outside and even issue fixed penalty notices.

Insp Pete Morgan of Whitby police said: "We will be closely monitoring the situation in the town and in Flowergate and decide whether any action will need to be taken in the future to address the problem.

"We have plans in place for the forthcoming weekend which we have been working on."

Earlier in the week Insp Morgan speaking at the Police and Community Liaison Group told members of the public it was the responsibility of the licencees to ensure their customers were not drinking outside and they were working with their full co-operation.

He said: "People should not be allowed out in the street with a glass because it could be
used as a weapon."

Under law, licensees found to be in breach of their licence by not controlling their customers can face a review of their licence in severe cases.

The two Gothic Weekends every year bring in thousands of visitors to the town, which leads to a boom for the local economy.

Some of the biggest bands of the scene will be playing over two nights at the Pavilion, with three acts from America performing for the first time this year.

"Preparations are well under way at the Pavilion and I am sure at other venues throughout the town," said Steve Hollingworth, Scarborough Council's head of tourism and leisure.

"There are still some tickets left at the Pavilion but these are selling fast and we would advise anybody who still wants tickets not to wait until the night.

"This is a very important event for the town and we look forward to welcoming the Goths this year."

Goth weekend organiser vows to keep it in town
* 04 May 2007
* Source: Whitby Gazette Friday
* Location: Whitby

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By Staff Copy
ORGANISERS of the town's bi-annual gothic weekend have vowed to keep the popular event in Whitby despite suggestions to switch it to Scarborough Council's Spa Complex.
Sam Hoyle said he thinks the council only seems interested in Scarborough and are not prepared to consider increasing Whitby Pavilion’s capacity or address a lot of other issues they have.

And he said it has been suggested on numerous occasions with the council that Scarborough Spa would be able to cope with an increase in numbers.

Mr Hoyle said: “It wouldn’t work.

“No-one would come. Whitby’s Whitby. They don’t understand that.

“They are trying to make things as difficult as possible but we will fight to keep it here.”

Problems arose at last October’s gothic weekend when a problem with forgeries left revellers unable to get into the Pavilion.

Scarborough Council decided to take on the printing of the tickets in-house but Mr Hoyle said the failure to issue tickets in time meant they lost money.

He said tickets arrived around a month later than normal meaning many of the tickets which they send on to outside sellers in shops around the country were sent out later than expected and they couldn’t sell them in time.

“We ended up actually losing money from this,” he said.

“The pavilion were supposed to be selling tickets for us but they didn’t sell their quota.

“When we asked for the tickets they hadn’t sold back, they said only if you buy them back. They’re our tickets.

“I feel very let down by Scarborough Council because they won’t knock any money off our bill.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hoyle said the police have told him the event had gone without a hitch.

He said he is currently in talks with Insp Pete Morgan from Whitby police and health and safety officers from Scarborough Council about what they can do about the problems with the Elsinore and Little Angel pubs where last October there were issues with crowds of people drinking in Flowergate.

He said: “The landlords were asked to try and stop people from drinking on the streets which I believe happened.

“Although it wasn’t a sell-out it was absolutely brilliant.

Unfriendly and petty officialdom ruined popular weekend for town

# 18 May 2007
Source: Whitby Gazette Friday

View Gallery
By Staff Copy
From: Jim Mandeville, Wellingborough, Northants.
ALONG with friends, I paid one of my regular visits to Whitby.

We were all delighted to find it was a Goth weekend, as usual colourful and great fun with friendly people.

Like other non-Goths, we appreciate the atmosphere the weekend creates in the town and know the event will be trouble fee. So what were the police and Scarborough Council thinking of?

To our horror, we found a police van complete with surveillance camera camped at the top of Flowergate on Saturday night.

We also heard council officials were also doing their best to put a dampener on the party.

If I
may make a suggestion to both the police and council it is this.

The Goths are a valuable asset to Whitby and while their visit may pose some logistical problems the answer is not to clamp down but to look for solutions to make the event go well.

Be welcoming – you will find the traders are already adept at this and some consultation with them would surely produce workable solutions.

For Flowergate in particular, the authorities do not seem to appreciate this has become a favourite evening venue for Goths and therefore work to encourage it. Why not suspend parking for the evenings of Goth weekend and even close the road to other than residents and emergency vehicles.

Simply, let’s see the authorities work with the organisers and traders to encourage the weekend and not to present the unfriendly face of petty officialdom we were unfortunately subjected to on this occasion.

Street would not be used by the goths to 'party'

By June R Whisson
From: June R Whisson, Upgang Lane, Whitby
thank you for printing my letter in the 17 May edition of the Gazette but I feel the headline highlighting the letter was misleading.

To suggest my request to close the top end of Flowergate from Skinner Street to Brunswick Street to enable the goths to ‘party’ suggests to the uninitiated there is likely to be some rowdy behaviour.

This, you and I both know, is not the case.

The reason the goths like to congregate in that area is to meet old friends, make new ones and to show off their outfits, be it sometimes bizarre but always tasteful and often expensive.

They then party as you suggest, when they go to the Pavilion or The Met.

Whitby benefits from the visitors who come to the town because the goths are here and like to see them having a good time as well as admire their outfits.

There is no loutish behaviour, no smashing of windows, just a group of like-minded people enjoying themselves.

I also know many local people who although are not goths, use the weekend as an excuse to dress up like them.
Last Updated: 05 June 2007 12:58 PM

Disgusted at the attitude to the gothic weekend

* 08 June 2007
* Source: Whitby Gazette Friday
* Location: Whitby

From: S Davis, Bagdale, Whitby
REGARDING the comments about Whitby Gothic Weekend by J Whisson and J Mandeville.

We agree with all said by the above.

My partner and I have lived in Whitby for several years and always looked forward to, and thoroughly enjoy, the goth weekends.

The atmosphere is wonderful, as are the people.

Why is it the authorities, recently, seem to have a downer on the goths, who are no trouble and bring lots of fun and revenue to the town?

Are the powers-that-be shooting themselves in the foot or, (not wanting to sound cynical) has it something to do with the organisers being approached with the view to moving the event to Scarborough?

It appears, anything that is successful in Whitby, especially financially, is a potential target.

Whoever organised this over-the-top officialdom will, no doubt, sleep easy knowing the event was disappointing to goths, visitors who came especially to see the event, local people and businesses.

We are disgusted with the authorities’ attitude to this unique event which, incidentally, made national television last year.

Moving the goths was 'naive and ill-advised'

* 15 June 2007
* Source: Whitby Gazette Friday
* Location: Whitby

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By Staff Copy
From: Julian Kynaston, Hillside, Robin Hoods Bay
Throughout my time as chairman of one of the UK’s leading marketing and PR consultancies I have acted as an adviser for a number of towns and cities looking to improve their reputation and national standing.

I have experienced at first hand the importance of personality and being unique and the difficulties when neither exists.

It is therefore ironic Scarborough Council sees fit to rip apart a key element of Whitby’s personality and heritage with its nonsensical suggestions for the Whitby Gothic Weekend.

Their decision this year to purge goths from the streets outside the Little Angel and the Elsinore public houses was naive and ill-advised.

The Whitby Gothic Weekend attracts thousands of people, many of whom travel from all over the world.

As well as the obvious commercial and charitable benefits, it provides Whitby with a cultural richness, and the friendly interaction between the goths, the locals and those who just come to witness the event.

In my mind it is a huge factor in Whitby’s recent renaissance and was a key part of the criteria which led to the town being voted Britain’s top seaside resort by the magazine Holiday Which? last year.

The Whitby Gothic Weekend is a phenomenon which should not and cannot be realistically corralled or moulded.

The council would do well to serve as a passive and grateful supporter, protecting and assisting both the organisers of the festival and the visiting goths themselves.

Officially closing off the street as suggested in a recent letter to the Gazette, would be a good starting point.

And, of course the recent muting of moving the festival to Scarborough is ridiculous.

It’s just plain wrong, unless the council is happy to gloss over the rather major fact in Stoker’s book Dracula the Demeter actually landed in Whitby.

Do they think thousands of goths just randomly selected Whitby as a convenient place to meet?

Perhaps we should encourage the Bronte Museum to be re-housed in Sheffield and maybe Magna could move to Bradford, what with its strong steel heritage. Whitby provides the cultural relevance of the festival, so to move it would put the entire event at risk, and threaten an essential revenue stream for many businesses in the area.

Above all, the gothic weekend provides Whitby with global recognition.

It is an asset which much bigger towns and cities in the UK, who are all battling regeneration and renaissance issues, can only dream of. It is extraordinary Scarborough Council could even consider meddling with its formula.

This is a decision which is dictated by misguided commercialism, but above all, cultural ignorance.

As for holding it in Scarborough, two points – read the book. And secondly, no goths would go.

It’s that simple.

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