Sea defences need repairs

Alternate view of Sea wall area.113888a Picture Richard Ponter
Alternate view of Sea wall area.113888a Picture Richard Ponter

HUNDREDS of properties in Scarborough’s North Bay could be at risk unless vital work is carried out to bolster the existing sea wall defences, it has been claimed.

A recent inspection revealed the need for “urgent” emergency work to be carried out to stabilise sections of the sea wall to prevent breaches of the defences.

Many large hotels and residential properties would be under threat if the wall failed. Scarborough Council’s Cabinet agreed to accept £87,000 from the Environment Agency for the project and will appoint consultants to investigate to best way to carry out the vital work.

Pauline Elliott, the council’s head of planning and regeneration, said: “The engineers’ report noted a large list of faults.

“About 295 properties have been identified at risk of possible loss behind the defences within the short term and medium term should the defences fail.”

She added: “Over the long term it is anticipated that further significant loss of property would occur.”

Some of the highlighted defects include displaced and fractured blockwork and erosion at the foundations of the defences.

She added: “Consequences of seawall failure for this area would include the loss of tourism, loss of infrastructure and the loss of environment including both historic and natural.”

Consultants are expected to be in place by the beginning of the year, with the report produced by the end of February, and a submission made to the Environment Agency next March – if further funding is secured then the matter will be presented to Cabinet next September.

Mrs Elliott said: “Scarborough North Bay has formed over many years through the cutting back of the high till coastal slopes between the Scalby Ness and Castle headlands.

“As a result of the very square natural shape of the bay it is exposed to an aggressive dominant north easterly wave direction.

“The age of the original hard defence structures, not included in the Castle Headland Coast Protection works in 2002, date to 1890. However, additions and improvements were made to various sections in the 1920s, 1950s and most recently the 1970s.

“Behind the defences are large dormant and locally active coastal slopes consisting of glacial till overlaying sand and mudstone.

“Immediately above the coastal slopes are situated many large historic hotels and residential properties, all potentially at risk should the wall fail.”

The general issues of sea defences and coastal erosion were brought into focus in June 1993 with the collapse of the Holbeck Hall Hotel.

Last year a new landslide caused the complete and permanent closure of a section of Scarborough’s Filey Road.

The landslip was near the Knipe Point residential estate, where three houses were demolished because of another destructive landslide in early-2008.

Two bungalows left teetering dangerously on the cliff edge were demolished later that month, followed by a third bungalow weeks later.