COUNCILLORS have approved a public consultation exercise just a day before it was due to take place.
Members of Scarborough Council’s cabinet were discussing the Robin Hood’s Bay Coastal Strategy Study at a meeting on Tuesday – with the first public consultation meeting set to take place on Wednesday at the Robin Hood’s Bay Methodist Church Hall.
The draft report could become a blueprint which will set out how the coastline between Whitby and Cloughton will be managed over the next 100 years.
The exercise will be conducted with the help of the Environment Agency and the draft report outlines how communities and the environment along the 24km of coastline will be protected.
John Riby, the council’s head of technical services, said the consultation process would also involve key individuals and groups who had an interest in the area.
He added: “There will be a public consultation event on January 19 where there will be an opportunity for people to know the different strategies and hard copies for members to look at.
“We will bring the report back to cabinet for a final strategy.”
The report recommends that existing coastal defences in the lower part of the bay will either be maintained or upgraded – also known as holding the line – which is likely to cost around £900,000 and the work carried out over the next five years.
Nature would be allowed to take its course in other areas – resulting in the disappearance of a handful of at risk cliff-top properties over the next 100 years.
The bay has a long history of coastal erosion problems:
n in 1780 much of the original road into the village, Kings Street, was lost
n since then more than 200 properties have been lost as a consequence of cliff top erosion
n in 1975, vertical concrete sea walls, measuring 14m high and anchored into the cliff, were built to prevent erosion along The Landing – a section of cliff located between the village slipway and Ground Wyke Hole
n with the eroding cliff edge just two metres away from the only access road to the lower part of the village, the council commissioned consultants in 1996 to evaluate the problem and identify suitable coast protection measures
n the study, which extended from the Victoria Hotel Mount Pleasant southwards to The Quarterdeck, was completed in 1999 and, based on recommendations, coast protection works between Ground Wyke Hole and Mount Pleasant were carried out during 2000 and 2001.
Cllr Jonathan Dixon said he felt cabinet approval was a formality because the public consultation event, with the local community, was already planned for the day after the cabinet meeting.
According to the report there was a risk that it had not been given cabinet approval then it would not be able to go to public consultation and it could have resulted in the council having to pay back grant aid to the Environment Agency.
The public consultation on the draft strategy is due to last until Tuesday, April 19, and the final strategy submitted for cabinet approval in July.