WORKS to improve the quality of Bridlington’s beaches begin this week, which will see part of South Marine Drive closed for eighteen months.
Yorkshire Water will begin their work to improve and supplement Bridlington’s sewerage system today, with South Marine Drive set to be closed southbound from Horsforth Avenue to Belgrave Road until April 2014.
Despite agreeing that the works are necessary to ensure Bridlington’s beaches achieve Blue Flag status in the future, some in the town fear that the works will hit local businesses and the tourism trade hard.
The £40 million works will see a new pumping station, a new sewer and improvements to the existing sewerage system.
Half of Palace Car Park has already been cordoned off, and will be used as the launching point for a tunnelling machine to begin work from early 2013.
A spokesperson for Yorkshire Water said: “Later this week we’ll be starting some preparatory works at the top and bottom of the lifeboat ramp off South Marine Drive. The first stage will be to divert a sewer at the top of the ramp.
“Next week we expect to be setting up the hoardings around the construction site on the Spa Promenade. This will mean erecting wooden hoardings and delivering temporary site cabins, and at the moment East Riding of Yorkshire Council are removing rides at kiddies corner to provide the space we need for the compound.
“We have not yet implemented the traffic restriction on South Marine Drive, but we expect this to be in place at the earliest tomorrow, but certainly by the end of the week. The restriction will mean that vehicles will only be able to travel one-way northbound. However, a clear recommended diversion route for southbound traffic will be signposted.”
Contractors Morgan Sindall Grontmij have refurbished the old Toyota Garage on the corner of Springfield Avenue and Hilderthorpe Road to use as their main site offices during the work.
A working compound has also been set up in Palace Car Park, but Yorkshire Water stressed that the car park is “definitely still open” and that people can access it from the Quay Road/Prospect Street entrance.
Parking bays will be unavailable on South Marine Drive from opposite the northern kerb line of Meadowfield Road going along 25 metres northbound from the end of November through until January, while parking bays further along South Marine Drive, opposite the Alexandra Bowling Club for approximately 20 metres, will be out of bounds from January to December 2013.
Bridlington Town Councillors Malcolm Milns and Cyril Marsburg say they are worried the businesses in the town could be affected by the works, which are not set to end until 2014.
Coun Milns said: “Of course the work needs doing, but what is going to happen to those businesses - especially along Hilderthorpe Road - who have already been suffering while the AAP confusion has been going on.”
Coun Marsburg said: “While the works are necessary to keep tourists coming in the long term, I do think it will affect the tourism trade as the road is going to be shut for over a year. The parking situation is going to be bad, and it will be hard enough in the winter, but in the season it is going to be a nightmare.”
Bridlington’s RNLI lifeboat will be moved temporarily to the Spa Promenade, and crew will have constant access to ensure response times are not affected.
Local hoteliers have also given their views about the plan.
Bob Hillery, of Spinaker House Hotel and also president of the Bridlington Tourism Association, said: “The big concern is the lack of car parking. We have already lost 40 spots outside Pembroke Gardens which did us all damage.
“It is going to cause disruption, but it needs to be done or we will never get a Blue Flag back. We will have to put up with it.”
Mary Eaton, of Pembroke Apartments, is now fearful that Pembroke Terrace will become a “rat run”.
“The traffic moves slowly down here because of parking both sides, and it is 20 miles per hour,” said Mary.
“It only needs a few more cars to come down here and you would have gridlock.”
If residents have questions about Yorkshire Water’s work, or want to talk to the construction team, visit the information centre located at the old Toyota Garage at the corner of Springfield Avenue and Hilderthorpe Road.
Opening hours are 9am until 5pm on weekdays. Outside of these hours they can call Cleo Jones, Community Liaison Officer on 07718 516709.
l How will the works affect you or your business? Get in touch with the newsdesk on 01262 677338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org