Coastal erosion closes public toilets on crumbling clifftops at popular Yorkshire beach

Coastal erosion has led a more rapid than expected closure of the public toilets on clifftops at a popular beach in East Yorkshire.

East Riding Council said the toilets in the Cliff Lane car park at Mappleton, near Hornsea, will be closed and fenced off from Wednesday for safety reasons.

Three temporary toilets will be installed near the entrance to the car park on the same day. They will be open until September. In the meantime, the council is working with utility companies to ensure new toilets can be built and connected as quickly as possible.

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The existing toilet building had been earmarked for demolition in September, but will now be taken down later this month. Councillor Barbara Jefferson said: “Unfortunately erosion has affected the structural integrity of the toilet building so we need to close it now, much earlier than we expected to.

The toilets on the eroding clifftops at MappletonThe toilets on the eroding clifftops at Mappleton
The toilets on the eroding clifftops at Mappleton

“We want to thank people for their understanding and for bearing with us while we provide a more permanent solution.”

Holderness is Europe's fastest eroding coastline and since the Roman era, 30 or so settlements are believed to have been washed away. Some 31 miles (50km) of coastline is made up of undefended boulder clay cliffs, with average erosion rates in the worst affected stretch between Withernsea and Hollym of nearly 13 feet (4m) a year.

It is forecast that 190 homes could be lost to sea in East Yorkshire by 2105, with 18 coming under threat by 2025.

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Policies on whether to defend, retreat or abandon sections of coast are contained in shoreline management plans, developed by coastal groups with members mainly from local councils and the Environment Agency.

Coastal defences are judged "not economically, socially or environmentally sustainable" for much of the sparsely inhabited area.