A £14 million scheme to protect close to 400 homes and an iconic Victorian theatre is under way in Scarborough.
The Scarborough Spa Slope Stabilisation Scheme will involve piling along the rear of the Spa complex with almost horizontal drainage to address the deep-seated failure of the slope, soil reinforcement and re-grading of the slope to address shallow and medium seated instabilities, together with further drainage measures, other works including repairs to the arch structure near the Spa Cliff lift and relaying of cliff access paths and basic landscaping and replanting.
Scarborough Borough Council has appointed Balfour Beatty to deliver the scheme, which is expected to be completed by Christmas 2019.
Speaking at the official launch of the scheme today, Scarborough Council leader Cllr Derek Bastiman said: "The scheme is extremely important for Scarborough's future and more so the stability of the houses behind it and the Spa, which is owned by Scarborough Council.
"It is particularly important as slippage has been identified and we've done a tremendous amount of work along with colleages in cabinet, particularly Cllr Mike Cockerill, in carrying out investigations on site with our contractors and it's taken a lot of work, with help from North Yorkshire County Council among others, to get to where we are finally at today."
The start of the work comes a week after the 25th anniversary of the Holbeck Hall Hotel disaster when heavy rainfall and poor drainage saw the town's only four-star hotel disappear over the cliff edge, not far from where the Spa sits.
"Unfortunately, I'm old enough to remember Holbeck," added Cllr Bastiman, "this is a slightly different scenario, however, the risk remains with almost 400 properties above the Spa at risk and that is why we have acted to secure the cliff."
A Defra grant of £11.6m, administered by the Environment Agency, has made up the bulk of the funding for the scheme with the difference being made up by contributions from Scarborough Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council. The final total stands at £13.453 million.
Ed Hinton, senior advisor for Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the Environment Agency said: "We’re pleased to be contributing more than £11m of government funding to this Scarborough Borough Council project, which will help protect 380 homes.
"We work closely with local authorities, providing advice and guidance, to help them plan for and manage coastal erosion. We look forward to working with the council on this and other future schemes to better protect local communities."