LIFEGUARD patrolling Scarborough’s South Bay will get a new base on a slipway after councillors gave the plan the green light.
The decision on the RNLI’s planning application was deferred last month so members of Scarborough Council’s Planning Committee could hear expert advice.
The RNLI had asked permission to build the temporary unit, which would operate daily between May and September, after which it would be removed and the cobbles replaced.
Councillors had raised concerns about whether disruption to the cobbles on the slipway, opposite the Olympia building, would weaken the structure and cause them to be washed away during storms.
Neil Herbert, who represented the RNLI at Thursday’s meeting, said that the unit was vital because the South Bay was the busiest beach in the north.
He added: “We’ve been working closely with Scarborough Council’s planning department. During the last two years we’ve looked at a number of places and we can’t find a more suitable location.”
Andy Crossley, the council’s flood and coastal engineer, said that – while he could give a 100 per cent guarantee that the integrity of the slipway would be unaffected by the work – experienced contractors would be used to complete the work.
Cllr Colin Haddington said that he was concerned about the cobbles because problems had arisen when cobbles were removed in Filey – he suggested an additional condition be added to the application which stated that the RNLI be responsible to replacing any which were washed away.
Jill Low, the council’s planning manager, said: “This is something that Andy’s team will look at as a matter of course.”
Mr Crossley said that the biggest disruption to the slipway, when the foundations for the structure were dug beneath the cobbles, would be in the first year with relatively little disruption in subsequent years.
The proposed unit was larger than those built in previous years, and had been designed to allow unobstructed views of the bathing area, shelter for lifeguards, and equipment storage.
Cllr Amanda Robinson asked whether it would not be a better option to place the structure away from the slipway on the sand. She said: “The beach cafe, just a few yards away, down the beach has stayed there for years and, as far as I can remember, it’s done very well.”
Mr Crossley said that there had been concerns about the structure which still rested on the slipway. He said: “That building has suffered over the years from storm damage. We are concerned about it but unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about it. “That is why we want the RNLI to go for a permanent footing on the slipway. It is placing point loads on the slipway and our concern is it will punch through the slipway.” Members of the committee approved the plan and added the condition that the RNLI would be responsible for repairing any damage to cobbles next to where the work was carried out.