Hard going on resort’s difficult road to future

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ON A bright and cold spring day, the scene in Bridlington Harbour is tranquil, with just a few holidaymakers wandering around and workers scraping away at the bottom of the shellfish boat, Oor Becca.

The wind makes a musical sound in the rigging of ships, high and dry on the mud, where the Pirate Ship and the Yorkshire Belle lie awaiting the start of the season. Rachel Rogerson is up a ladder touching up the blinds for her newly revamped coffee kiosk, Colombian Corner.

Yachts and pleasure boats in Bridlington Habour. Picture Tony Johnson.

Yachts and pleasure boats in Bridlington Habour. Picture Tony Johnson.

“Everyone likes coffee don’t they? I just wanted a different, unique look,” she says, flashing a bright smile.

But when asked about the roadworks and the diversions, the mood darkens, and she adds: “It’s an absolute disaster. It takes literally half-an-hour to 45 minutes to go round Bridlington.”

There have been intermittent closures and periods of one-way traffic on Hilderthorpe Road, the main arterial road to the seafront, since October 2016, and there is no let up in sight just yet.

Phase two of the works is set to continue until late August, bringing the prospect of yet more “intermittent diversions” and frustration for locals and visitors.

Hairdresser Katy Saxton, speaking to The Yorkshire Post, admits the endless roadworks have made her despair, and said: “It’s had me in tears before – I did about £20 one day.”

Over the past decade, the council has acquired and demolished a swathe of homes and businesses, including the former Royal British Legion building and a Toyota garage, with the aim of forming a mixed development corridor, along the newly re-opened and landscaped Gypsey Race, to the marina.

However, Tesco, which was due to move on to the Hilderthorpe coach park, pulled out of the scheme in 2013 , and a plan to create a £115m marina was shelved earlier this year.

But Nigel Atkinson, the head of Bridlington Renaissance, insists the roadworks, which are part of the second phase of the £12m Integrated Transport Plan, and the aim to improve access through the town will work.

While he cannot give away too much about negotiations, the council has preferred developers on board for two key locations – the Royal British Legion site, which will be a mixed development, and the Hilderthorpe coach park, that will be predominantly retail.

Mr Atkinson said: “In terms of the coach park site, we expect the developers to be in a position to undertake public consultation in the next two months, and we are expecting that to be good news for the town.”

He added: “We have to work with what we have got and we have got to still build a future for Bridlington whether it is with or without a marina.

“We are still looking at options around the existing harbour, as opposed to a mega scheme.”

Ukip councillor David Robson believes the pain will be worth the eventual gain.

Coun Robson added: “The ultimate aim is to improve the town centre’s infrastructure and I am totally 100 per cent in favour.”