Discussions on sea defences leave council between a rock and a hard place

An artist's impression shows how the sloped concrete revetment would look. And below, how the rock armour may look
An artist's impression shows how the sloped concrete revetment would look. And below, how the rock armour may look

HUGE sea defences to safeguard Scarborough’s historic Spa Complex from the raging North Sea have moved closer to fruition.

Scarborough Council officials yesterday thrashed out negotiations to push forward proposals for new sea armouring across the South Bay.

The council’s Cabinet unanimously agreed to sanction a detailed investigatio into a rock armour or stepped concrete slope in a bold attempt to eradicate damage and “leave a legacy like their Victorian forefathers”.

Bosses will now draw up business plans for both options with a decision expected early next year.

Stewart Rowe, the council’s principal coastal officer, said management of the town’s coastline was a complex process which required considerable attention.

Mr Rowe alluded to the Holbeck Hall Hotel disaster in 1993 as a barometer of the inherent dangers facing the town if strong action was not forthcoming.

He said: “We are maintaining and repairing constantly and have had this before with the Holbeck.

“We need to learn lessons from that because if it happened again there are far more assets at risk.

“That was just one building but here we have the Spa and all of the buildings and gardens too.”

Mr Rowe also referred to a similar project in Lyme Regis, in Dorset, which included significant improvements to help salvage the coastline from the sea.

Cllr Godfrey Allanson, who worked to help steer the improvements along Marine Drive, said he welcomed the notion of bolstering the town’s defences.

He said: “This is not something that has been done on the back of a cigarette packet and has had a lot of consultation.

“We cannot afford to stop and must go on and grasp the nettle and do it.

“I have seen Lyme Regis and that was something very similar to what we could face.”

Cllr Penny Marsden she was also in favour of the work and again referred to the Holbeck Hall Hotel devastation.

She added: “My great concern are the gardens, they are moving all the time.

“Some of them are quite serious and the most urgent thing is to get on with the work.

“We want tourists, but don’t want them coming to look at a disaster as before.”

However, the plans drew criticism from marine conservation group, the Sons of Neptune, who said: “Placing a rock armour or concrete against the Spa wall is an environmental outrage.”