Sea defence options to be further investigated

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PROPOSED plans to bolster crumbling sea defences around Scarborough’s Spa Complex are due to be investigated on Monday.

And campaigners opposed to two possible schemes are hopeful that by highlighting a similar project, which was rejected in the 1960s, it will add weight to their argument.

In 1968 it was proposed to widen the Spa access road but the idea was thrown out because of fears that it would lead to the harbour entrance becoming blocked with sand from the Spa area.

Freddie Drabble, one of the founding members of campaign group The Sons of Neptune, said there was a parallel because both the old scheme and the new proposals would lead to a similar loss of beach area. He added: “It’s far too dangerous to proceed with anything other than to restore the original sea wall – that has stood for 150 years.”

The Cabinet decision has been questioned by Cllr Peter Popple and it is due to be discussed by members of the Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee on Monday.

His decision to call in the recommendation has been backed by Cllrs Norman Murphy, Mick Cooper, Amanda Robinson and Roxanne Murphy.

He said he was querying the recommendation because he did not feel it addressed the major problems of cliff instability and coastal erosion issues. He added: “Before one of Scarborough’s iconic buildings is disfigured by options, which may cause more problems than they may solve, certainty of purpose must be answered.

“The first line of defence in coastal areas is the beach itself. The options being considered may cause a longshore sediment rate which could silt up the harbour. No modelling appears to have been done to determine if beach movement would occur.”

In 1998 Cllr Popple investigated proposed sea defences for Foreshore Road – which was dubbed the Popple/People Plan.

He employed a chartered engineer and sought advice on beach movement from the late Captain Sidney Smith.

Cllr Andrew Backhouse, the portfolio holder coastal and flood defences, said that the reasons behind the two recommended options would be fully explained at the scrutiny committee meeting and it was important that the right decision was taken.

He added: “Clearly identified is the need to gauge the potential of sediment drift towards the harbour mouth.”

Monday’s scrutiny committee meeting will be held at the Town Hall and is open to the public. It is due to begin at 2pm.