No lighthouse repairs on horizon

WHITBY’S crumbling lighthouses may not be fixed until the piers themselves are fully restored.

At the most recent meeting of Whitby Harbour Board, Scarborough Borough Council’s property asset manager Alan Dargue presented a report to the group relating to the state of the lighthouses.

This report highlighted £160,000 worth of repairs that are needed to restore the lighthouses, and which the board are required to do as the 19th century structures are Grade II listed.

However, harbour board chair Mike Cockerill said that the restoration may not take place until the piers themselves are restored, as part of the Coastal Defence Strategy 2, which is currently out for public consultation.

This £20 million scheme will see the coastal defences for the entire Whitby coastline improved and Mr Cockerill added: “We’re not prepared to spend significant money on the lighthouse for them to then fall over.

“The coastal strategy identifies that there’s a lot of work to be done on the piers and at the moment we don’t know how deep, if at all, the foundations of the lighthouse goes into the piers.”

The harbour board currently have no information about the state of the lighthouses’ foundations, which may be a cause of the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” problem that is apparent.

However, Whitby Town Council’s Ian Havelock, chair of the harbour committee has reservations about leaving the lighthouses to decay further and said: “There doesn’t seem to be any plan to do anything with the lighthouses unless they can fix the piers. If in fact they are unable to identify a problem, or until they can identify a cause, they are doing nothing.

“If it proves to be very serious as to whether there’s adequate findings, they haven’t got a plan B.

Whitby Harbour Board concluded that minor maintenance should take place, including the installation of a new door to the East Pier Lighthouse, and the reinforcement of high level masonry straps.

Monthly monitoring of the structures will take place, to be conducted by harbour staff.