THOUSANDS of tons of Norwegian rock is to be piled up against a Bridlington sea wall as part of a £1.3 million scheme to prevent erosion from becoming a danger to homes and businesses.
The decision to build the rock armour against Royal Prince’s Parade and the North Pier comes after it was estimated that should the wall fail 39 homes and 15 businesses would be lost – at a cost of more than £11 million.
The plans, which were submitted by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, were approved by its eastern area planning sub-committee on Monday and work could begin this autumn.
Fishermen could be in line for compensation if their work is disrupted when the granite rocks arrive from Norway on a barge the size of a football pitch.
East Riding Councillor Chris Matthews has welcomed the planning approval, which he said will finally resolve a problem which has been ongoing for many years.
“It’s something that we identified some years ago and it’s badly needed.
“We get some serious wave overtopping in there which is a risk to people, more so in the winter where we get the rough storms.
“Last year it damaged all the paving which just shows how powerful the sea is,” said Coun Matthews.
The wall needed emergency repairs after collapsing in 1995 at which time it was discovered that two previous repair jobs had been carried out on it.
“We have grasped the nettle here, this isn’t just a patch it up and make do, this is a £1.3 million job.”
“I’m delighted, not only because we have got planning permission but because we have secured the funding,” he added.
The money to pay for the scheme will come from DEFRA, the government department for the environment, food, and rural affairs.
John Lister, Head of Bridlington Renaissance, has also welcomed the decision in light of damage caused to the sea wall in recent years.
“Around 18 months ago it overtopped and they had to repair the steps so that’s an example of what can happen as a result of just one storm,” Mr Lister said.
The impact of waves and the lowering of beach levels have led to the deterioration of the sea wall over the past decade, with the worst part being where the wall joins the harbour’s North Pier corner.
The scheme would see steel piling hammered into the clay to underpin the wall and then covered in thousands of tons of rock armour, each piece weighing between six and 10 tons.
The rock armour will cover a 25 metres stretch along the pier and 25 metres along the length of the adjacent steps with a height of 5.8 metres from the current beach level.
The scheme, which in total covers 100 metres along Royal Princes Parade and 65 metres along the North Pier, includes the refurbishment of the beach access staircase.
A report submitted to planners by the council said: “Through this stretch of frontage the defences have been steadily deteriorating over the past decade and are now in danger of collapse through a combination of direct wave impact and an ongoing lowering of beach levels which are threatening to undermine the wall’s foundations.”
“It is estimated that in the event of wall failure and subsequent outflanking a total of 39 households and 15 businesses would be lost with an economic loss of approximately £11,053,000.
“Tourism and recreation which form an important part of the current local economy would also be affected.”
An East Riding of Yorkshire Council spokesperson said no decision had yet been made over any compensation that may have to be paid out to fishermen while the work is underway, but if they do need to seal off an area of the sea compensation will be discussed with fishermen.
As the North Pier is a Grade II listed building an application for Listed Building Consent will now be referred to the Secretary of State for Listed Building Consent.