A KEY route on the Yorkshire coast could have to be abandoned as coastal erosion brings it closer to the cliff-edge.
The B1242 which connects Hornsea and Withernsea is now about 215ft from the edge at a pinchpoint at Mappleton on the UK’s fastest eroding coastline.
But officers from East Riding Council say the area, immediately north of the defences, has slowed to a “minimal amount” and the area of concern is further north, where the road is about 310ft off the cliff edge.
Consultants URS have been commissioned to look at defences from Hornsea to Mappleton and south of Withernsea.
A council spokesman said: “The studies we recently announced have many aims, and these will include determining what the future holds for the B1242 at Mappleton. Options may include abandoning it in the future, a new diversionary route, or retaining the existing road by providing a new coastal defence.
“The preferred option in this instance should become clear in a few months’ time, and we will be very much wanting to hear what the public think.”
Public consultation will be held in September and a final report is expected next April. The council has maintained the road at Mappleton could last several decades, but locals are calling for the defences to be extended. However funding would be a major issue, with about half-a-mile of defences costing over £10m.
Independent councillor John Whittle said the road was an “essential link” and any talk of abandonment would create a “wave of opinion”.
He added: “If the road was no longer there then there would be a massive detour and in these days of expensive fuel and keeping the environment pure it would be counterproductive to have an alternative road.
“It has to be cheaper in the longer run keeping the road rather than having a massively expensive diversion involving buying land. I have confidence in our engineering team who work very hard for the benefit of the area – but in certain cases I feel our hands are tied by meddling from bodies (Natural England and the Environment Agency) which do not necessarily have the same interests as we have.”
Hornsea town councillor Fred Jefferson said the B1242 was being discussed 40 years ago when he was on Holderness Borough Council, adding: “The road is getting closer and closer to the edge. We travel up and down it three or four times a week and it is used by thousands on their way to BP at Saltend and Hedon Road. It’s going to be a Government job whatever happens, but I can’t see the road going – they must do something.”