Scarborough coastal protection bid granted extra funding

Scarborough Spa.  Pic: Gerard Binks.
Scarborough Spa. Pic: Gerard Binks.
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A MULTI-million pound plan to protect hundreds of homes in one of the Yorkshire coast’s most popular seaside towns has taken a step closer.

It is now down to Scarborough Council to confirm a final financial contribution of £3.1million towards the overall £14million costs of a project that will see the town’s South Cliff and iconic Spa Complex better protected from coastal erosion.

A report to the council last year stated that 380 nearby properties are under threat from increasingly heavy seas and the risk of landslides which have the potential to cause over £100m-worth of damage.

Councillors will now be recommended to approve the final slice of funding towards the sea defences scheme, with a £10.3m grant from the Environment Agency already secured and North Yorkshire County Council leaders yesterday committing to putting up £1.2m from its reserve to cover any financial risk associated with the project.

Homes, hotels and businesses are threatened by the tides off the North Sea all along the Yorkshire seaboard and the erosion of the fragile boulder South Cliff in Scarborough will be the main focus of the project which should help protect the coastline for the next 50 years, in a bid to ward off any repeat of the Holbeck Hall Hotel collapse of 22 years ago.

Some sections of sea wall along the promenade will also be increased in height.

Councillor Carl Les, leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “Over the years we have seen many incidents in which the boulder clay that makes up much of the North Yorkshire coastline has been compromised and become unstable, sometimes with disastrous consequences, such as the destruction of Holbeck Hall Hotel in 1993.

“Huge advances have been made in monitoring and understanding the way our coastline is affected by storms and by the day to day impact of our climate, which has led to significant investment in locations all along the North Yorkshire coast so that residents remain safe and property is protected wherever possible.

“Securing the safety of The South Cliff is a priority and the County Council is glad to be able to play a part in this vital project.”

Scarborough Council leader, Councillor Derek Bastiman, added: “This is a major and important project for Scarborough, and it is good to see our two councils working so closely together on something so vital to our town.

“Although coast protection is not a statutory duty for the County Council, we recognise that there is a major issue here of vital importance to public safety, and in a wider sense to the continuing prosperity of one of the county’s most important communities.”

The project is a scaled down version of the original plans, which controversially included proposals for ‘rock armour’ defences. Critics feared the features would spoil the coast’s beauty and restrict use of the beach. Instead much of the focus is on piling material behind the Spa Complex to reinforce a weak point identified deep down in the cliff face.

The council is still establishing a proposed timescale for the work, with a final report expected to go before full council in September.