URGENT repairs worth £1m must be made in two Yorkshire coast towns to fix damage caused by the worst tidal surge for 60 years.
Scarborough and Whitby were hit by flooding when their harbours overtopped as a freak high tide swept through the North Sea and into the Humber Estuary last Thursday, driven by gales of up to 87mph that had earlier lashed the region.
Clean-up operations are already underway across the region but the full scale of the damage is only just beginning to be assessed as the waters recede.
The repair bill in Whitby includes an estimated £115,000 for work on the West Cliff promenade, including rebuilding a collapsed sea wall and replacing railings and safety barriers.
Repairs to the West Pier are expected to cost around £25,000 while the price of work at Fish Pier has been estimated at close to £20,000 in a preliminary assessment of the damage.
A “completely burnt out” electricity substation in Endeavour Wharf will also cost £10,000 to repair after it was flooded, leaving much of the town, including the hospital, without power.
Other buildings in need of work include the town’s harbour offices, tourist information centre, beach management centre and public toilets in New Quay and Khyber Pass, as well the Endeavour Wharf joiner’s shop and and Whitby Cliff Lift Tunnel.
In Scarborough, the list includes the North Bay beach management centre, Sandside tourist information centre, the Lighthouse and Yacht Club, the West Pier fish market, public toilets in Vincent Pier, West Pier and St Nicholas Gardens.
Final costs have yet to be confirmed for much of the work, including a handful of jobs in Filey and Staithes, but it is expected it will total around £1m.
Scarborough Council is expected to pay for the work from its own insurance fund before submitting a claim to the Government’s Bellwin scheme to recoup the costs.
It is hoped the majority of the sum can be recovered but the council anticipates it will be left with residual costs of around £250,000.
A report to cabinet warned: “If the council does not approve the implementation of the schedule of works and accompanying delegation of authority there is a risk of death or injury to the members of the public or council staff as a consequence of unsafe structures and damaged sea defences.”
It adds: “The council faces unprecedented cuts to its budget at this time. However, the option to do nothing in the case of this damage is not feasible.”
Elsewhere in the region, officials are still counting the costs of the flood damage.
In the East Riding, it is believed around 180 households have been flooded between Bridlington to Spurn Point on the East Coast and from Welwick to Reedness on the banks of the Humber.
Pumping operations to remove standing water from carriageways and fields in the Blacktoft and Yokefleet area are also continuing, with water levels steadily dropping, while flood defences are being assessed.
Council chiefs say anyone requiring financial help can apply under its local welfare assistance scheme. A recovery room at County Hall has been set up to co-ordinate the clean-up operation on 01482 393399.
Meanwhile, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is still surveying the damage at its Spurn nature reserve, where buildings and their contents sustained water damage and vast stretches of fencing, gates, visitor infrastructure and signage were destroyed and a “colossal amount of debris” has been strewn.
Homeowners whose properties were damaged by the floods in the villages of South Ferriby, Burringham, Gunness and Keadby are being given £300 from an emergency fund to help manage the aftermath. North Lincolnshire Council’s cabinet has set aside £100,000 to help around 250 households after calls from MPs.
Leader Liz Redfern said the authority would also be looking at providing loans to residents without flood insurance while those forced out of their homes have been promised a council tax rebate.