According to the latest figures, coastal erosion is swallowing up around 13ft of land a year on unprotected stretches of what is the UK’s fastest eroding coastline.
Figures submitted to a House of Lords select committee by East Riding Council suggest 237 homes will be lost by 2105, as well as a “significant” number of valuable agricultural operations and more than 500 holiday chalets, statics and touring caravans. In the next seven years, 24 homes could fall victim to the sea.
Sections of the highway network “under threat” according to the submission include the B1242 north-south link between Withernsea and Hornsea, which in places is coming within 229ft – less than four double-decker buses in length – of the cliff edge.
Hornsea councillor Barbara Jefferson said it would be “devastating” for communities if the road went, as people would be forced to take major detours. East Riding Council was awarded “Pathfinder” money in 2009 to help affected residents and businesses, but that funding has now run out.
Coun Symon Fraser, whose portfolio includes highways and coastal flooding, said the council was on a search for new funding, but added that getting government money to protect the B1242 was “very difficult” due to the very low density of population in the area and “the cost benefit analysis simply doesn’t stack up”.
He said: “Currently until we can identify some money from somewhere I think the betting money would be on that road having a limited shelf-life and we would need to use alternative roads.”
Coun Jefferson said she would raise the issue at the next full council meeting, because of concerns from residents in Mappleton and Cowden.
She added: “I will ask the leader whether there is any kind of help that could be looked at to make sure there is some form of road put in between Hornsea and through to Aldbrough.
“I know the East Riding won’t touch protection because it gives a knock-on elsewhere on the coast. At the moment a new road is the only alternative for these people to give them quality of life.
“The parish council at Mappleton has continually asked about the possibility of a new road.”
Meanwhile, a contractor has been appointed to develop a detailed design for major repairs to Robin Hood’s Bay’s concrete seawall, which is badly corroded and cracked and in danger of failing within 10 years.
Coun Mike Cockerill said the repairs were “vital for the village’s longer term protection from the power of the sea and the aggressive coastal climate”.