Changing tides strip sand from beach

131428a Sons of Neptune members Bryan Dew, front, Freddie Drabble, left, and Charles White, who say they have never seen the accumulation of such a large amount of shingle on the South Bay sands. They claim that the proposed Spa sea defences could lead to changes in currents and tides leading to more shingle being deposited.  Photo by Andrew Higgins    04/04/2013
131428a Sons of Neptune members Bryan Dew, front, Freddie Drabble, left, and Charles White, who say they have never seen the accumulation of such a large amount of shingle on the South Bay sands. They claim that the proposed Spa sea defences could lead to changes in currents and tides leading to more shingle being deposited. Photo by Andrew Higgins 04/04/2013
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Parts of Scarborough’s golden sands have become a sea of shingle as spring’s unusually high tides batter the beach.

Following the coldest March in more than 50 years, stormy seas and high tides have left parts of Scarborough’s South Bay covered in small rocks.

The shingle deposit has been dubbed unusually high for this time of year by Scarborough marine conservation group Sons of Neptune.

Member Freddie Drabble said: “I have paced this out in front of the Olympia and 2,000 square metres alongside the promenade is now shingle.

“This is the sheltered part alongside the promenade – ideal with soft sand for the kids and where the sea doesn’t quite reach in the summer.

“We now have a wide band of shingle as far as the Olympia.”

Fellow Sons member Charles White shares Mr Drabble’s concerns.

He added: “The council keep the sands clear of litter daily with a tractor and sand rake. How is that supposed to work with shingle?

“It will be impossible to keep clean and bits of discarded food will smell and attract flies.”

Following the Sons’ comments Scarborough Council’s cleansing services have said the shingle will not cause any problems for the beach cleaning machines, which will be able to operate as normal.

However the Sons claim cleaning the beach isn’t the biggest concern, as they believe the problem of shingle will get “significantly worse” following the installation of rock armour at the Spa as part of the council’s multi million pound sea defence project.

They said the armour will change currents and tides resulting in more sand being lost and subsequently more shingle on the South Bay beach.

The Sons of Neptune claim that by putting a “massive barrage of rubble” in front of the Spa as part of the planned sea defences, the velocity of the incoming tide will increase “enormously”.

Mr Drabble said: “Put 22,000 cubic metres in front of the Spa and the shingle will spread further along if we get more easterlies. Someone should start digging now and find out what depth of sand there still is before they plan risky engineering works which will change the tides and scour even more sand away.”

Scarborough Council said it did not wish to comment on the latest Sons of Neptune claims against the proposed sea defences.

Councillors approved the £16.6 million rock armour option ahead of a £22 million stepped concrete revetment with a wave wall, maintaining the existing sea defences are inadequate, with wave overtopping beyond safe levels.