Funding essential to preserve Yorkshire coast communities, says senior councillor

Flat Cliffs in Filey.
Flat Cliffs in Filey.
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Multi-million-pound funding packages from the Government are vital in helping to protect communities on the Yorkshire coast, a senior councillor has stressed.

Scarborough Borough Council’s cabinet has this week approved urgent work to stabilise cliffs in Filey in an effort to prevent the only access road to a hamlet of 45 houses crumbling into the sea .

The work, which will be carried out in three phases, will start ahead of the tourism season to prevent disruption to the neighbouring Primrose Valley Holiday Park.

It is expected to protect the steep road and properties for the next 20 years, allowing time for residents to come up with a long-term action plan.

The project is being funded by a £572,000 Flood Defence Grant from the Government, which is being delivered by the Environment Agency.

It is one of a series of coastal protection and preservation schemes that are set to come to fruition in the coming months with help from funding from the agency,

Coun Mike Cockerill, who holds the harbours and flood protection portfolio on the council, said: “We are very pleased that the work at Flat Cliffs in Filey is going ahead and that the Environment Agency is funding the scheme 100 per cent.

“It is vital that we receive this funding. The borough council has no statutory responsibility to do this but under our permissive powers we can act on residents’ behalf.

“However, it would be very difficult for us to get any funding as a council.

“In this instance we are very pleased to work closely with the Environment Agency and get their technical and financial support. It just shows what can be achieved by different organisations working together.”

Coun Cockerill said the Environment Agency had also put money into a cliff stabilisation project to protect Scarborough’s historic Spa, long-awaited repairs to Whitby’s crumbling piers and a flood alleviation scheme at Filey.

He said: “We anticipate that these three schemes will all start this year. The overall cost of the schemes is £30m and the Environment Agency has contributed a significant proportion of that – over half at least.

“This funding is absolutely essential in helping to protect and preserve the coastline in Yorkshire.”

Coun Cockerill said he hoped to announce the completion of the contract for the Scarborough Spa stabilisation work as early as next week, with contracts for the other two schemes following closely behind.

He said: “It is going to be a hectic year.”

The Environment Agency said helping to protect communities against coastal erosion was a key priority.

A spokesman said: “We are very pleased to be able to provide investment to Scarborough Borough Council for work to help delay erosion at Filey Flat Cliffs and Scarborough Spa Cliff.

“These are complex schemes, which involve detailed engineering on sites which have geological, hydrological and land use considerations as well as heritage, social and environmental protections. The works are designed to deliver multiple social-environmental benefits whilst protecting communities against coastal erosion now and in the future.

“For example, 30-metre (98ft) metal piles will be used at Scarborough Spa. The work at Filey Flat Cliffs will involve soft engineering techniques.”