Action taken to save sea wall

Brid Seafront North Wall
Brid Seafront North Wall

EXPERTS have been checking the foundations of one of Bridlington’s sea walls after concerns they could be undermined by erosion.

The massive masonry wall defending the sweep of Royal Prince’s Parade is now more than 140 years old.

Since it was built, ongoing east coast erosion has mean the beach level is several feet lower than it was.

The worry is, should there be a dramatic loss of sand due to tidal or weather conditions, the foundations of the wall could be exposed to further erosion, which could make it unstable.

Neil McLachlan, East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s coastal engineer, said: “There is no danger of the wall falling down, but we have some concerns over the stability of the wall, the foundations are not that good.

“There is a chance they have been like that for quite a long time.”

Together with a team of engineering consultants, Mr McLachlan has been checking around 100 metres of the wall, northwards from the point where it joins the harbour’s north pier.

They have been using soundings and digging down to find the foundations, most of which are only four to six feet below beach level, but some as little as two to three feet down.

“When they were built the foundations for the wall were laid on sand, below which is gravel. Beach levels have dropped since then.

“If there was to be a drawback of sand, the sea could get into the foundations and undermine them,” said Mr McLachlan.

Last winter seafront damage was caused by heavy waves close to the joining of the sea wall and the north pier – known to the worst point along the frontage where levels are lowest.

The erosion is worst at that point due to the action of the waves hiting the harbour wall and are reflected back toward the beach causing a swirl of water.

Mr McLachlan said: “That is one of the things we will be looking at, trying to change the action of the waves, possibly by using rock armour.

“The work we are doing is to see what our options are to safeguard the sea wall for the future.

“Once we have the engineers report, it may be we have to consider some form of under pinning to ensure stability, or perhaps strengthen defences using rock armour, or even both.”

The work will be a costly operation but he said funding will be available from the Government and the cost will not be a burden on council tax payers.