Open at last!

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Marine Drive is to finally re-open almost two years since it closed to two-way traffic.

Yorkshire Water has confirmed to The Scarborough News that the seafront road will be open once again by April, bringing to an end 24 months of disruption for drivers and businesses.

Plans are also afoot to create a piazza at Peasholm Gap by either reducing the size of the roundabout outside The Sands, or discarding it altogether to make room for a pedestrianised and seating area where events can be held.

The Marine Drive work is an investment by Yorkshire Water to meet new bathing water standards which come into force in 2015, has been welcomed by traders.

Guilian Alonzi, owner of The Harbour Bar in Sandside, said it was ‘brilliant news’ that the road would finally reopen.

He said: “I would say that it has been very tough the last two years since the road was closed off.

“The traffic has been funnelled away and added to the council’s car parking policy it has been difficult.

“It is brilliant news that we will get the road back, not just for us as a business but also as it is one of my favourite drives on a morning.

“Coming along Marine Road when the sun is rising is a wonderful thing. It is an amazing road.”

John Senior, chairman of the South Bay Traders said he hoped it would lead to a dramatic improvement for businesses on the south side of town.

He said: “It’s a long time coming, we were promised an opening in late February and I know that it was delayed due to the weather but we need the two way traffic back in place before Easter so people are used to be it again.

“It’s hard to tell what difference the closure made, as when it was closed it was pre-recession, so we are almost entering new ground and not sure what to expect but I am certainly hoping it leads to a dramatic improvement in trading.”

Since Spring 2012 cars have not been able to make it all the way down Marine Drive, instead they were turned around when they got to the South Bay.

Yorkshire Water is now just finishing up and says it hope the road will be open both ways by the end of next month.

Claire Glavina, from Yorkshire Water’s community engagement team, said: “We are aiming to have the road open by April. That could mean it is the last day of March or slightly before that.

“We are aiming to have all the rest of our work finished on schedule this summer.

“The North Bay Gift Shop been refurbished and handed back to Scarborough Borough Council and the adjacent miniature golf-course land is due to be re-turfed this month following the rebuild of the surrounding dwarf wall.”

North Yorkshire County Council’s Highways department is now also consulting on what will happen to the roundabout outside The Sands in North Bay.

The two options on the table are to replace the mini roundabout with a larger footway area, but retain the ability for buses to turn around.

The second is to remove the turning area completely to give a dedicated space for entertainment purposes/

Vehicular access top the beach huts would be maintained and the work is being funded by Yorkshire Water.

Richard Dean, owner of The Sands, said: “It is an exciting time.

“I am for the half and half option, keeping the roundabout but creating a space for people to sit. There are some spectacular views and it will be great for The Sands.”

Mr Senior added that the piazza would be ‘great for businesses’ and would create a ‘lasting legacy’ for Scarborough.

The new piazza could be opened alongside the road as it will be classed as highways improvement and therefore will not need planning permission.

The consultation ends on February 28.