A huge crack at Scarborough’s South Bay might not be repaired before the start of the new tourist season, it is feared.
The new landslip is within yards of the Clock Cafe and just a few feet from four cliffside chalets.
It is the latest in a series of landslips along our coastline, with major problems at Knipe Point, Whitby and Sandsend.
Concerns are being raised about whether the path will be ready for the tourist season and whether visitors could be put off. “It’s worrying, there’s no doubt about it,” said Cllr David Jeffels, a member of the
Moors and Coast Tourism
“This year will be 20 years since Holbeck Hall fell into the sea and for people in Scarborough - and further afield - that’s something you never forget.”
He added: “The safety of our holdaymakers and residents is paramount and the council will be doing everything they can to rectify this problem.”
The topic of Holbeck Hall also crops up frequently for Cllr Godfrey Allanson, who represents Scarborough on a national level as part of the Local Government Coastal Group.
He said: “Holbeck had a big effect on the way people see landslips. Wherever I go in the country, one of the first things people say about Scarborough is that they remember the Holbeck.
“It illustrates how vulnerable our particular coastline is. People who live inland often think of the seaside as yachts, seagulls and summer days, but they don’t realise we’re suffering with instances like this.
“The worst thing is you get no warning, which is scary.”
Cllr Allanson added that although the cliffs behind the Spa are a known landslip site, and have been for more than 100 years, the situation in recent times has been exacerbated by continued wet weather.
He said: “With the weather we’ve been having, we going to see this happening more and more.
“It’s happening around the country, but Scarborough is particularly prone to problems due to its geology.”
However, he emphasised that a lot of work is ongoing to address what can be done and that funding is available.
Cllr Allanson said: “We need to press now for adequate funding to put this right. It is important we get what is needed.”
The stretch of coast near the Spa Complex - and this recent landslip - is currently the subject of a consultation into ways of protecting the area.
The proposal includes rock armour along the shoreline and “soil nailing” further up the cliff, which involves driving long steel rods into the bank.
Cllr Mike Cockerill, Scarborough Council’s portfolio holder for Harbours, Assets, Coast and Flood Protection, explained: “On some parts of the coastline there’s very little that can be done, but behind the Spa is an area where work could be carried out.
“The proposed rock armour would help to stabilise the sea wall and provide a small element of additional firmness. It would also break up the tremendous wave energy.
“Deep piling or soil nailing could help stabilise the bank and it could involve the remodelling of the path in some areas.”
Cllr Cockerill added that in landslip areas where there are no buildings nearby, the policy is to “let nature take its course”.
He said: “You could throw money at it til the cows come home, but it’s a natural process. It’s the nature of the beast with boulder clay.”
In January, there was a landslip near the Star Map, the old South Bay outdoor pool site.
A Scarborough Council official confirmed that contractors have been appointed to carry out remedial work at the new landslip.
The work will not begin until after the Easter holidays in an effort to minimise disruption and – weather conditions permitting – is expected to take a fortnight to complete.
A spokesperson for Scarborough Borough Council said: “The path which is currently closed as a result of the landslip is the only disabled access route from the South Cliff to the seafront on that side of the cliff lift – it’s our intention to reinstate that footpath. We will also be regrading, stabilising and reinforcing the slope.
“Stakeholders including The Friends of South Cliff have been informed of the work.”