Major stabilistation work to the East and West piers may have to be carried out before any money is spent on restoring the Grade II listed buildings, which is expected to cost in the region of £200,000.
A report, which is due to go before the Whitby Harbour Board next week, claims that even if the lighthouses were repaired, their long-term future would not be secured as the piers on which they stand are “themselves at risk”.
Meanwhile, it is being recommended that the 19th century structures are regularly monitored while an investigation into their foundations is carried out.
Whitby Harbour Board chairman, Councillor Mike Cockerill, said: “There’s a concern that there is a certain amount of lean, which would seem to indicate the foundations aren’t that good.
“If the piers aren’t considered stable enough to continue to support the weight of the lighthouses, some serious work has to be done to stabilise them before we would look at spending significant amounts of money on the structures. It’s a chicken and egg situation.
“Ground investigation work needs to be carried out and no decisions will be taken until we know the state of the foundations, which is the internal structure of the piers.”
Although the work will eventually be carried out by Scarborough Borough Council, more urgent repairs to the town’s harbour, which have been identified as part of a pioneering new coastal strategy, are set to be prioritised. The Whitby Coastal Strategy 2 report is currently out to public consultation.