Residents 'very concerned' after piling causes cracks to appear in properties near Futurist demolition site

Sheet piling has caused cracks to appear in the properties next to the Futurist demolition site.
Sheet piling has caused cracks to appear in the properties next to the Futurist demolition site.

Residents living close to the Futurist theatre demolition site have reported to a councillor that cracks have appeared inside and outside their properties.

Scarborough Borough Councillor Janet Jefferson raised the issue at yesterday's full council meeting, which had to be interrupted due to the noise of nearby piling works, to represent the concerns residents have expressed with her.

Cllr Jefferson said: "Despite assurances given in August 2017 at meetings with residents and businesses of Blands Cliff and Prospect Place by Contractors Willmott Dixon and SBC Officers that no piling would take place within the Futurist Demolition Works – without prior warning to residents/businesses – sheet piling has been carried out by Willmott Dixon, following what they later stated within a delayed resident/business newsletter was due to a slight ground movement of a 'few millimetres' to the slope."

As a result of the piling, cllr Jefferson said she has been informed of cracks appearing inside and outside properties, which she said might cause serious issues with people's personal insurance cover.

She said: "Some of these people have mortgages, because they were assured in 2017 that no piling would take place, their insurance companies could foreclose on them and that's a serious issue. I want assurances for my residents that they will be looked after."

Cllr Jefferson also added that the current method of sheet piling being used is causing "severe stability issues" and is therefore requesting the piling to stop "until further investigations and assurances can be given to property owners".

Councillor Mike Cockerill, the Cabinet's portfolio holder for Major Projects said the lack of communication with the property owners before the start of the piling was down to "human error".

He said: "It was a genuine oversight. When we set out the communications plan we [the borough council] agreed that we would do certain things but the communication with the owners of the properties was down to Willmott Dixon.

"I have actually spoken to the site manager and he's absolutely mortified.

"If people have got any queries or concerns about the insurance aspects they need to talk to the contractors who will have their own insurance policy on the project."

Cllr Cockerill also said that piling activity will continue unless deemed unsafe by the on-site monitoring regime.