New west pier footbridge plans: bid for approval

East pier extension
East pier extension

PLANS are moving forward for the installation of a new permanent footbridge to link the West Pier with the extension.

Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) has put a bid for approval to its own planning board.

Documents submitted with the planning application state the new bridge will be similar to the temporary structure installed at the end of last year.

It followed a public outcry when the footbridge was closed in September without warning over safety concerns.

The new design will have two steel primary beans and inside of those there will be steel secondary beams.

The walking surface will be hardwood that is coach-bolted to the secondary beams and handrails will be formed using steel stanchions with three rails in between.

The new bridge will be constructed on the pier next to the lighthouse and lifted into position using a crane and can be lifted back out when maintenance is required.

Before any work starts a condition survey is going to be carried out to the pier pavement, extension gantry and lighthouse and their current conditions recorded.

Documents in support of the application say: “The new design is very similar to the existing structure but incorporates features which will assist in the maintenance of the structure over the years and will ensure its extended lifespan.

“As such, the new bridge should blend in well with the surrounding structures and not be too obtrusive on the overall land or seascape of Whitby.”

It goes on to say that due to the poor condition of the bridge, it is considered unfeasible to carry out repairs to the existing structure and a new one is the only feasible way to maintain the link.

Whitby’s piers were first mentioned in documents in 1545 and at the time they were a timber structure.

They were present during the reign of Henry VIII and in 1632 they were replaced with stone and timber.

In 1814 they were replaced again with stone from Aislaby quarry.

During the 18th century, the port of Whitby began ship-building and with 11,754 tons of shipping, it became the third largest shipbuilder in the country after London and Newcastle.

The piers as we know them today were extended in 1914 to provide extra protection for vessels entering the harbour and carried out their task until recently when questions were raised over their condition.