Sea defences: Rock armour is too bitter a pill to swallow

Copy of letter to Cllr Fox and members of Scarborough Borough Council

RE Proposed Spa sea defences, Scarborough.

Members of the South Bay Traders Association have asked me to write to you to voice their concerns relating to the above issue. It seems to some that there are in fact two distinct challenges facing us here, one being from the actions of the sea and the other from cliff landslip more often caused by the effect of water saturation on soil hydraulics and the geology of underlying strata. Leading on from this, it would seem sensible that each of these problems should be treated in a different way. The first, by reinforcing our sea defences which we have in the form of the Spa Sea Wall and the second by improvements to drainage, tree planting and structural reveting.

Having read the various reports, objections and recommendations it does appear that these two distinct challenges are being drawn together as one and this is leading to an assumption of a linked threat and therefore a singular fix by the comprehensive application of rock armour to this most sensitive and historic section of Scarborough’s promenade and beach. The reader is then led to believe that failure to apply this remedy in its entirety will more than likely lead to the future collapse of areas of the South Cliff and on our reading this does perhaps seem a little disingenuous and misleading.

Nobody is suggesting that we should not have secure and well maintained sea defences but the recommendation of rock armour stretching across the beach, Children’s Corner and the Spa approach seems too bitter a pill to swallow. The existing sea wall is now over 100 years old and whilst in need of substantial repair has not done badly in keeping Scarborough safe. Surely if we were to mix the best of Victorian innovation and construction with modern 21st century technology we can find a more satisfactory and environmentally pleasing solution to the sea wall issue other than the one presently tabled, to bury it under a pile of rubble?

John Senior


South Bay Traders Association