Historic view of Spa is under threat

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HOW can the appearance of England’s most famous historic seaside Spa coastal scene be destroyed? Its setting recalls the very beginning of vacations to the seaside some 400 years ago and accelerating since the arrival of the railway. A stack of rubble is now to stand where the Spa spring waters flowed over the sands and bathing machines later plied their trade.

And Children’s Corner - that sheltered area of sand and rockpools below the Spa Lift where families have fun retreating from the advancing sea to a few yards of sand except at the highest tides. This has been seen as a key attraction for Scarborough since the first postcards appeared in the late 19th century. It seems it can now be rubbled over as irrelevant.

Rarely a month goes by without an expression of concern appears in the Evening News about lack of visitor attractions and heavy reliance on the sands and coastal scenery. But now even this traditional mainstay attraction is fair game for blighting.

Whitby, however, has learned what keeps the cash tills jingling all year round - that heady mix of real history preserved and old world charm. Is that message now lost on Scarborough?

Only a few years ago, and ironically at the Spa, the subject of renaissance emerged and proposals took shape in a publication titled Kissing Sleeping Beauty.

The present plans for this the birthplace of the seaside holiday suggest that a sequel Killing Sleeping Beauty is already being penned. The Victorians some 140 years ago took great care to nurture the appearance of the emerging Golden Goose of tourism by building a substantial stone sea wall which avoided any sacrifice of this town’s vital assets of sand and scenery but, above all else, would be fit for purpose.

Is it too much to ask of today’s civil engineers if they can even rise to the challenge of matching that achievement? There’s still time for those who care to enquire to contact the Environment Agency at York who will be reviewing the present proposals in due course.

Freddie Drabble

Sons of Neptune

Scalby Road

Scarborough