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Welcome to Yorkshire had 'spend now, worry later' culture

The new chairman of Welcome to Yorkshire says the tourism agency previously operated under a culture of "spend now, worry about it later".

Peter Box

Peter Box released two reports this afternoon - one looking into the organisation's finances, and another at its future.

One, dated 29 August, said without a £500,000 loan from North Yorkshire County Council and another £1m investment "Welcome to Yorkshire will run out of cash by November at the latest".

The second revealed, among other matters, it spent £250,000 on its display at this year's Chelsea Flower Show - more than three times the £80,000 it had budgeted.

Former chief executive Sir Gary Verity resigned in March on health grounds, but later faced complaints about his behaviour and expenses.

It’s clear to me, from reading both reports that governance and strategic oversight of the operations have been largely absent. Financial planning was not robust enough which led to a culture of spend now, worry about it later."

Peter BoxWelcome to Yorkshire chairman

Yorkshire river £5m scheme to go back to the wild

What's thought to be the biggest river rewilding scheme in the north of England is under way on the River Derwent.

River Derwent at Elvington

The 100-mile long river, which flows from Fylingdales Moor on the North York Moors, to the River Ouse about 20 miles south of York, marks the boundary of the East Riding for more than 20 miles.

The Environment Agency's £5m programme will see weirs and locks modified so trout and salmon can migrate up the river more easily.

Non-native plants will also be removed in a bid to help stop riverbanks eroding.

The project is expected to take five years to complete.

Campaigners' court action over historic hall's conversion

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Campaigners battling to stop an historic hall in North Yorkshire from being transformed into a children’s holiday centre have launched a legal challenge at the Court of Appeal.

Newby Wiske Hall
Geograph/Chris Heaton

Newby Wiske Action Group has lodged the legal action over Hambleton District Council’s decision to approve plans to convert Newby Wiske Hall, a Grade II-listed building.

The former North Yorkshire Police headquarters is to be turned into a centre with 550 guest beds and staff accommodation.

The move comes just days after campaigners were refused permission at the High Court for a judicial review of the authority’s decision and costs were awarded in favour of the council.

The 17th Century hall was opened as a district police training centre in 1954, with the original grounds transformed into playing fields by prisoners from Northallerton jail.

It was transferred to North Yorkshire Police in 1976 as the new Force Headquarters and sold in early 2017 to children’s holiday company PGL.

The council says the decision to grant approval for the Newby Wiske site was made after careful consideration of all factors.