Robin Hood's Bay cafe owner seeks to extend The Galley tea hut by cutting 3m further into the cliff

An entrepreneur behind a controversial scheme to build a cafe into the side of a cliff at Robin Hood's Bay is seeking consent to stabilise the cliff, almost four years after being warned the development would impact on the cliff’s stability.

By Stuart Minting, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 2:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 2:16 pm

Graham Kemp has also applied to the North York Moors National Park Authority to extend The Galley tea hut on the beachfront Quarterdeck at Robin Hood’s Bay by cutting three metres further into the cliff to create a staff, storage and preparation area.

When the authority approved building the beach hut in 2018, while Scarborough Borough Council said it had no concerns over the cliff’s stability, residents of the village warned its planning committee the cliff was “continuously moving” and that “building into the hillside will alter the cliff’s stability.”

The committee was also told the cliff behind the Quarterdeck had been moving less than others in the area due to land drains which had been installed in 2000, but those would be disturbed during construction.

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Stunning views from Robin Hood's Bay, near Whitby.

Residents and traders in Robin Hood’s Bay claimed the scheme would “damage the essence of the village”, over-commercialising it, discouraging tourists from exploring its alleys.

Fylingdales Parish Council has objected to the latest scheme, saying while it supported the cliff stabilisation work, the tea hut extension would make it “too imposing” on the Quarterdeck.

Documents submitted with the plan state the "incredibly expensive stabilisation project” had “been made necessary by the increasing instability of the cliff” due to “excessive rainfall over the past two winter seasons”.

The papers do not mention whether or not the development had accelerated the need for cliff stabilisation work, but do point towards recent issues with the land drains.

They add: “Unfortunately, the land drains have become increasing ineffective and the clay has become waterlogged, resulting in movement of the slippery clay, which in turn sheared the land drains.”

The papers state other cliffs in the area had also seen similar issues and highlight how nearby Boggle Hole had seen similar problems, where the land “totally collapsed”.

If approved, the scheme would see stainless steel netting, starting below the existing cliff path, held in position by a huge quantity of 5m-long stainless steel duck bill anchor plates pushed into the slope, with a stainless steel mesh clamped to them, finishing at the Quarterdeck.

The application states: “Since its original conception in 2019, no-one could have forecast The Galley’s massive popularity, serving a large variety of quality food and drink close to the beach; so much so, The Galley now plays a vital role in attracting tourism and providing refreshments in the area.

“The extension to the rear of The Galley will enable us to provide more local employment, all of whom presently live locally and walk to work."