It’s safety first in Whitby as plans take shape for the busy summer season

This story was published 23 March 2022

Holidays and day-trips to Whitby are becoming more popular with the picturesque Abbey, quirky shops and renowned eateries among its appeal.

Whitby bridge

To ensure a safe visit for all, a trial closure of Whitby Swing Bridge was introduced on weekends, bank holidays and busy periods last year.

In response to public feedback from the experimental scheme, we are using our powers to implement closures for 2022 to support the economy and tourism in the town.

“The closure of the Swing Bridge has significant safety benefits as we all know how busy the seafront can get at peak holiday times; with huge visitor numbers expected for 2022,” said Karl Battersby, Corporate Director for Business and Environmental Services.

“We understand the importance of allowing traffic over the Swing Bridge, connecting the east and west sides of Whitby, but this has to be balanced with the needs of pedestrians at busy times of the day. We hope this decision will be welcomed and the benefits felt once more.”

The measures will begin on Easter weekend and be in place on all bank holiday weekends including the long weekend for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and all weekends in the school holidays between May and October.

The Swing Bridge will be closed to vehicles between 10.30am and 4pm, with an exemption for buses and vehicles responding to an emergency call. On weekends and bank holidays over the school summer holidays, local highways teams may decide to cancel the closure if the weather forecast is poor.

On Friday, a meeting of North Yorkshire's Business and Environmental Services Executive members will look to approve a £380,000 painting and maintenance scheme on the Swing Bridge, which is over 100 years old.

Karl Battersby said: “We have a commitment to investing in the Swing Bridge which undergoes regular inspections and upgrades. Repainting is important for preservation and it has been ten years since it was last carried out.

“During extended periods of very warm weather the bridge expands and seizes in the shut position - preventing boats from leaving or entering the harbour. We plan to use a lighter coloured surfacing to keep it at lower temperatures.”

Surfacing work is due to be carried out before the 2022 summer holidays and repainting in spring/summer 2023.