Dredging led to harbour collapse

SCARBOROUGH taxpayers are set to foot the bill for flooding in Whitby after work by the council was deemed responsible for the failure of a harbour wall.

The trouble in Whitby started in February 2009 when a section of steel wall in the lower harbour collapsed between the swing bridge and the lifeboat station.

An independent report claimed the collapse was a result of essential dredging that had lowered the harbour bed so much the wall could no longer support the load behind it.

Yorkshire Water, which owns the structure, is negotiating with Scarborough Council for a contribution towards finding a solution.

Yorkshire Water has received expert advice that “the council’s dredging activity to maintain a safe channel in the harbour is a factor”.

Scarborough Council’s head of legal and support services Ian Anderson said: “Yorkshire Water and Scarborough Borough Council are working together with property owners toward an amicable resolution.”

He adds that Yorkshire Water has taken “the pragmatic view, that it is important to resolve the problems by working together with the council in the interests of the community.”

At least £50,000 has been put aside to deal with the problem but Mr Anderson says “it is now clear that a sum in excess of this amount is likely to be required to achieve resolution”.

A Yorkshire Water spokesman said: “We are committed to working together with property owners to ensure we reach an amicable resolution with a report detailing various options going before the council’s Cabinet

later this month.”