Fish and chips, historic ruins overlooking the town and steam trains running daily, no I’m not talking about the Isle of Man, I’m focussing on the North Yorkshire town of Whitby.

The reason? The people of Whitby have just voted on something incredibly interesting.

We on this island have a lot in common with Whitby. Be it fishing ports, the love of the sea, a slightly slower way of life or even Dracula, we’re a lot more alike than you’d think.

For those who don’t know, Bram Stoker was inspired to write Dracula while in Whitby and dedicated the book to ‘my dear friend, Hommy Beg’ AKA Hall Caine. 

But why am I interested in Whitby today? Well, like our island, spiralling house prices in Whitby are seen as a big reason for young people leaving the town. There has also been criticism of holiday lets being bought, further shutting out residents.

According to council tax data, almost one in five homes in Whitby are not primary properties. 

Well, in a bid to gauge the public mood, a parish poll was arranged by the town council which asked: ‘Should all new build and additional housing in Whitby parish be restricted to full-time local occupation as a primary residence only and forever (in perpetuity)?’

Mike Smith is among those who cannot afford to buy told ITV News: ‘I’m Whitby born and bred. My family goes back generations, but sadly, due to the state of the market, I cannot afford to live here, so I’ve had to pack up shop and move 20 miles to Guisborough. There is just no option of buying anything anymore – there are no flats, there’s very few rental properties and for first-time buyers it’s impossible. You need £300,000.’

While the vote is non-binding it may be used to shape future planning considerations.

Unfortunately, the turnout wasn’t great, in fact it was pretty poor at just 22.72%. But of that turnout, 2,111 people voted for it, compared to just 157 who voted against it.

But if this does play out as the people of Whitby had indicated they would like it to, the town would represent a fascinating test case. Some argue that it will make it easier for local people to buy their own homes, while others say it will further squeeze the market and lead to an increase in prices.

Here we have similar issues, some people want to see a mass expansion of house building with homes built for young people who want to live and work here, not for developers and portfolio holders to make another quick buck. Others want to see an increase in social housing, thereby taking the power away from these groups. 

Either way, if the gov here truly wants to look at ending the housing crisis, it could be worth keeping their eye on the North Yorkshire coast to see how events play out there.