Residents warned of erosion threat to coastal homes

SEASIDE communities along a stretch of Yorkshire's most picturesque coastline have been warned that more properties will be lost to crumbling cliffs.

A long-term strategy spanning the next century is being drawn up to stem the impact of the North Sea along a 15-mile stretch of coast.

Scarborough Council admitted yesterday, however, that up to a dozen properties were expected to be lost to coastal erosion.

Up to a foot of land is being lost every year at the worst erosion blackspots between Whitby's Abbey Cliffs and Hundale Point in Cloughton, including the famous Robin Hood's Bay.

The council is planning to "hold the line" in lower Robin Hood's Bay, which means existing coastal defences will either be maintained or upgraded.

The scheme is likely to cost about 900,000, work being scheduled to be carried out over the next five years.

But the council confirmed yesterday it will have to let nature take its course in other areas, with a "handful" of clifftop properties and roads at risk of disappearing over the next century.

The public are being asked to comment on a draft of the Robin Hood's Bay Coastal Strategy, which outlines how communities and the environment along the stretch of coastline will be protected.

Coun Jane Mortimer, who represents the Fylingdales ward, said: "I welcome the draft study and the importance that is clearly placed on Robin Hood's Bay.

"The village is a significant tourist attraction in the borough because of its unspoilt nature and it's important that homes and businesses are protected there for many years to come."

The bay has a history of crumbling cliffs, and most of the original main road, King Street, tumbled into the sea in 1780.

Since the 18th century, more than 200 homes have become casualties of erosion despite a 50ft high concrete sea wall being anchored into the cliff in 1975 to defend "the landing" – a section of cliff between the village slipway and Ground Wyke Hole.

Research undertaken since 1999 has looked at the rate of erosion along the coast.

The analysis found that the upper part of Robin Hood's Bay, north of the Victoria Hotel Mount Pleasant, is undefended and remains at potential risk.

Senior members of the borough council's cabinet are due to approve the draft strategy at a meeting on Tuesday next week.

A consultation event will then take place the following day at Robin Hood's Bay Methodist Church Hall from 3pm until 9pm to outline the strategy to members of the public.