Historic Scarborough Spa and cliffs to be secured in £16m plan

Scarborough Spa
Scarborough Spa

A £16 million scheme to secure Scarborough's South Cliff against imminent collapse has been approved.

Scarborough Council backed the plans on Monday, which will help to avoid “another Holbeck”.

Investigations have shown that the cliff above Scarborough Spa is at risk of collapse, and could go at any time.

However, the council also noted that there is a risk in carrying out the stabilisation work, but that it is a risk that needs to be taken.

Cllr Jane Mortimer told the meeting: “We are damned if we do here and damned if we don’t.

“There is a risk in doing the work and risk in not doing it, but it’s the latter that is the worst decision in my eyes.

“We don’t want another Holbeck.”

The Holbeck Hall Hotel disappeared into the sea when part of the cliff in the resort’s south bay collapsed in June 1993.

Cllr Tony Randerson warned that the cost of rebuilding the Spa if the cliff were to collapse would be in the region of £120 million.

The work will also protect more than 400 homes and flats above the cliffs in the South Bay.

The report that went before the committee on Monday laid out the perilous situation of the cliffs.

It stated: “Detailed ground modelling and stability analysis carried out for the [plans] have identified that the cliffs behind the Spa currently have a factor of safety (FoS) of around 1.0, which indicates the slopes are close to failure. “The FoS relates to both shallow and deep-seated failures.

“The fact that the FoS is around 1.0 indicates that there is no margin of safety and that there is a real risk of cliff failure; evidence documented reveals that pre-failure and progressive movement of the cliff is ongoing and that this is likely to continue and possibly accelerate.

“It is impossible to predict with any accuracy when the cliffs will fail but the fact that the current analysis shows no margin of stability is a real concern. The situation can only deteriorate without intervention in the form of cliff stabilisation to prevent both deep-seated and shallow landslip.”

Scarborough Council has previously accepted £11.619 million of Flood Defence Grant in Aid funding from the Environment Agency, and £1.212 million from North Yorkshire County Council and allocated a contribution of £1.880 million from its own funds.

The first phase of the Project will comprise:

• Pile array along the rear of the Spa Complex with near horizontal drainage to address the deep seated failure mechanism;

• Installation of soil nailing and re-grading of slopes to address shallow and medium seated instabilities, coupled with drainage measures;

• Other peripheral works including repairs to arch structure near the cliff lift;

• Relaying of cliff access paths and basic landscaping/replanting;

Work is due to start shortly with a completion date of July 2019