Owners fight against the tide

Southfield Cafe'South Lane Ulrome'New Sea Defence built by Cafe owners'PA1021-6c'Jack Turton
Southfield Cafe'South Lane Ulrome'New Sea Defence built by Cafe owners'PA1021-6c'Jack Turton

SEAFRONT property owners at Skipsea and Ulrome have been keeping an eye on the advancing tide for many years, but nobody predicted the recent acceleration in the rate of erosion.

The dramatic increase could be partly due to the last couple of winters which have been particularly severe and seen water freeze into cracks on the seafront then expand, breaking the land apart.

In 2006 a 40-metre stretch of Southfield Lane linking the two villages was forced to close when a large chunk of cliff collapsed and sections of the road were destroyed by the sea.

This forced several families to demolish their homes and leave the area.

The following year, MP Greg Knight joined East Riding councillors Jane Evison and Jonathan Owen to raise the issue at Westminster. They met with the then Environment Minister Phil Woolas to discuss ways of helping those whose properties were affected by the erosion, but no permission or funding was given to protect the coastline.

Last year East Riding Council did manage to get a £1.2million Coastal Change Pathfinder grant from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which is being used to help homeowners meet the costs associated with demolishing their properties.

The council has spent more than £260,000 of the one-off grant and its cabinet is due to meet later this month to consider amending the Pathfinder to include giving small grants to support coastal change adaptation and flood resilience schemes. Last year an Ulrome caravan park owner took matters into his own hands and won a two-year battle with the council to get an informal agreement that he could defend the land in front of his park.

Jack Turton, chairman of the Turton Group and owner of Southfield Lane Caravan Park, then spent around £25,000 on seafront defences which have so far resisted the advancing tide.

He said: “It was a challenge to be allowed to get that work done. Even if we wish to do a repair to the existing wall you get all kinds of officials coming down to inspect what we’re doing. If they let private enterprise have a crack I think they will find improvement.”