Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Whitehaven and Workington, Josh MacAlister, has launched a survey seeking ideas from Whitehaven residents to make the town ‘the Whitby of the west’.

The survey has already received almost 100 responses in just a few days, with ideas ranging from very simple things like cleaning up the streets and the frontages of empty shops, introducing more regular police patrols and reviewing parking charges, to more ambitious proposals to bring empty buildings back into use, attract more tourists into the town and better integrate the harbour into the town centre.

Mr MacAlister said: “Whitehaven is a beautiful town with so much potential. It is a difficult time for the high street, but there are lots of examples, like Whitby, which have bucked the trend. Why can’t Whitehaven be one of them? It has all the right ingredients.

News and Star: Josh MacalisterJosh Macalister (Image: Newsquest)


“There are already some positive things happening, like the new digital and gaming hub, and there are some quick wins we should be able to deliver easily without additional resources, but we need a detailed, long-term masterplan for the regeneration of the whole town centre.

“I want to hear the ideas of local people who use the town about how they think it should be improved and then I’ll lobby local decision makers, business investors and national government to get the resources and levers we need to make it happen.

“If I’m elected as your MP, this is the sort of thing I’ll do. Get people around the table, knock on doors in Westminster, be a champion for our area, and bang the drum for West Cumbria at every opportunity.”

Mr MacAlister said that one issue mentioned by lots of respondents is the need to tackle business rates, which price many new businesses out of the town centre. He said Labour has committed to abolishing business rates and replacing them with a fairer system.