Spa sea defences decision upheld

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A CABINET decision on two possible options for sea defences and cliff stabilisation around Scarborough’s historic Spa Complex has been endorsed after it was called in for further scrutiny.

Cllr Peter Popple originally questioned last month’s decision because he felt it did not fully address the major problems of cliff instability and coastal erosion issues.

Speaking at yesterday’s meeting of Scarborough Council’s Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee he asked whether possible silting up of the harbour – from sand displaced by rock armour or a concrete slope – had been fully investigated? He added: “The stability of the cliff area should be our priority.”

He also asked how serious was the problem of wave “overtopping” – where waves crash over the top of the existing sea walls during particularly high tides.

Freddie Drabble, one of the founding members of campaign group The Sons of Neptune, spoke against the two preferred options. “We have seen in recent days the outrage over the defacement of the statue on the north side – which the public have taken to their hearts. Is it too late to remind this council of the millions who have taken Children’s Corner to their hearts and do not want it defacing with rubble?” he said.

He added that there would be an outcry if other historic buildings, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and York Minster, were protected with piles of rock.

Several councillors said that the road to an eventual decision on the preferred scheme would be a long one and they felt it had been called in too early but Cllr John Ritchie said it was worthwhile because it meant they were given more detailed information.

Cllr Jane Mortimer said that rock armour worked. “Doing nothing isn’t an option and we certainly need to stabilise the cliff,” she added.

The committee voted to accept the decision with one abstention.