A £16 million scheme to dump rock armour on the beach around Scarborough’s iconic spa will be re-examined to see if it is the best option for the town.
Council bosses have agreed instead to repair the Victorian sea wall and prop up the crumbling cliffs above the Grade Two listed building – just as campaigners wanted, it has been claimed today.
More than 2,500 people had petitioned against the proposals which were branded a “crime against tourism” and a massive waste of tax payers’ money.
Scarborough Council has now said it is “re-prioritising” the scheme after new information came to light from a study.
Council members had agreed the preferred solution to replacing the aging sea wall was piling boulders on an area of the sands known as Children’s Corner.
But officials said that “recent ground investigations have now shown that the cliff stabilisation works were higher priority”.
“The proposals require more immediate action and the council will be seeking to bring the works forward as soon as possible,” a spokesman said.
The town hall would also be fast-tracking works to repair the sea wall, including a new wave retaining wall, he continued, adding:
“The revetment works to address the over-topping, whilst still an important consideration, are regarded as being less imminent.
“The issue of public safety during storm conditions can be addressed by the implementation of a management regime until such a time as the need to implement a physical solution arises.”
Councillor Mike Cockerill, Cabinet member for Coastal Protection, said: “It appears to be universally accepted that to do nothing is not an option, particularly in respect of the cliff stabilisation proposals - which are now considered a priority.
“We will be seeking with the Environment Agency to bring these works forward as quickly as possible together with the repair of the Spa sea wall and installation of a wave retaining wall.”
The risks associated with waves washing onto the prom were recognised but the rock armour scheme was being deferred and a new management regime being introduced to protect pedestrians and other users during storms.
He added: “Whilst the rock armour remains an acceptable viable option to reduce over-topping and protection of the sea wall it is important to use the time we can gain from a revised approach to explore all available options to address the wave over-topping and sea wall integrity and potential funding opportunities.”
Sons of Neptune Leader Freddie Drabble said: “It is victory for the town and so many people played a part in it.
“Hopefully, Scarborough’s unique heritage which admired all over the world can now be saved along with the scenery, sands and safety of surfers.
“This has gone on for two years and we are grateful the council has listened.
“But the scheme would have caused massive economic damage and loss of heritage.
“The Brontes who so admired this stretch of the bay would not just have been turning in their graves - they would have been climbing out and jumping up and down in fury.”
He underlined for all the groups to work together on future proposals for the Spa for anything else was done.
Surfers had also been concerned the scheme would be dangerous because it would take up so much of the shingle beach they would end up coming onto rocks rather than the beach.
Steve Crawford, of Surfers Against Sewage, said: “My whole concern was always about safety.
“At the moment, the South Bay is the safest place in the country to teach surfers because the waves are gentle.
“The sea defences would have made the currents stronger and forced people onto the rocks. It would have been very difficult to rescue them then without a helicopter.
“We are really trying to promote surf tourism in the town and this would also have reduced surfing time so people would have spent less time on the beach.”