Locals from Yorkshire are fond of calling the region God’s Own Country, however there is one small town which God has not bestowed with kindness
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Yorkshire has plenty of beautiful towns and villages including Harrogate with its famous Betty’s tearoom, Burnsall and its stunning river walkers to Whitby and historic harbour.
Locals from Yorkshire are fond of calling the region God’s Own Country, however, there is one small town which God has not bestowed with kindness, residents have said. Once upon a time, Straithes was an idyllic village, however, it has now been infected by a plague of holiday homes, the majority of which lie unoccupied for months at a time.
“If people are just staying here on holiday, it’s not the same as people living here, is it? There’s still a community but now it’s further out of the village, in the new houses at the top,” 53-year-old local resident Vanessa Ditchburn said.
She told Yorkshire Live: “It makes me feel really sad, really sad. Growing up in the village, we were all used to playing together down in the village. There were lots of children down there.” Staithes was once a bustling village with a wealth of beautiful cottages and quirky nooks and crannies.
In the 1990s the Royal Mail had to encourage the residents to number their houses rather than relying on names, as relief postal staff couldn’t navigate the area. Such was the uniqueness of the town, it was once well-known for its 18-inch wide passageway, Dog Loup, said to be the narrowest alleyway in the world.
Nowadays, though, no one seems to care about its little quirks, and both of its post offices have shut down. Newcomer to the town and mother-of-two Kerry Parkes says it feels “surreal” when walking through the deserted streets.
“There’s a lot of holiday lets, it is sad. The thing that is really sad is people have got them as second homes, but they never ever come. So, they are left empty for the majority of the year, and they just go to wrack and ruin. That’s a shame.”
Local chef Luke Gilmour agrees: “If you come on a cold or miserable day, it’s not very busy at all. You just see tourists, there’s no locals.” He admits though that “it keeps me in a job”. It remains to be seen what the future holds for the beautiful, but ever-quieting town of Staithes.