Last week I spent several hours with a film crew who were working for the BBC. We were at Scarborough castle to discuss and illustrate the vital relationship between the castle and the town built below it.
I explained that without the royal castle there would have been no royal chartered borough: Scarborough would not have had two MPs when Hull was still a swamp, its own local government, law courts, markets, protected harbour and the greatest fish fair in western Europe.
However, when I told these Londoners that Scarborough Borough Council had a serious intention to pile mountains of black boulder rubble on to the sands in front of the Spa seawall, they were both dumbfounded and horrified. And they agreed that the criminal destruction recently done by ignorant youths at the castle was nothing to compare with that currently planned for the town by its elected representatives.
Surely, they asked, didn’t the denizens of the Town Hall appreciate that the Spa was a Grade Two Starred listed building; that this was precisely the place where Scarborough had pioneered sea-bathing as Britain’s earliest seaside health and pleasure resort; and that this very beach was the first in the country ever to be used as public playground?
And their second pertinent question: Was there no coastal defensive work alternative to “rock armour revetment”? For instance, were councillors unaware of the successful stabilisation and preservation of Margate’s sea pier in 2012 by pressure grouting?
I suspect that many Scarborians are still uninformed of (or simply disbelieve) the colossal permanent damage that the Borough’s officers and councillors are about to do to their town. Nevertheless, anyone interested in the future of Scarborough who missed a view of the euphemism called the “Shoreline Management Plan”, which was exhibited for four whole days at Woodend and from March 25 to April 5 in the Town Hall, should not fail to attend the meeting at the Spa Promenade Lounge at 7pm, next Wednesday April 24.
This might well be their last chance to discover the full, frightening details and appalling impact of the monstrous scheme and to voice their strongest objections to it.