Council faces £50k harbour wall bill

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SCARBOROUGH Borough Council could be paying out more than £50,000 to Yorkshire Water after dredging works were found to have contributed to the collapse of the harbour wall.

At a meeting of the council’s Cabinet last Tuesday, senior councillors gave special authority to the Head of Legal and Support Services to enter into financial negotiations with Yorkshire Water.

Ian Anderson already has delegated powers to approve payments of up to £50,000 but the report presented to the Cabinet last week said: “It is now clear that a sum in excess of this amount is likely to be required to achieve resolution,

It has been recommended the payout to Yorkshire Water be funded via the council’s insurance to a final sum that has been given the go-ahead by Mr Anderson, the council leader Coun Jim Dillon and the portfolio holder for Harbours, Project Management and Land.

The cash is to help cover Yorkshire Water’s costs after it doubled the length of the original pilings in 1999 which protect the sewerage system.

The report states SBC won’t be paying towards these works but “consequential costs that they are likely to incur”.

Works had to be carried out after it was discovered their structure had been affected by dredging which has been taking place over the past 30 years since the construction of Whitby Marina, to deepen the navigation channel for vessels.

Whitby Harbour Board is also going to carry out a review of the current Harbour Board policy.

It will be in conjunction with Yorkshire Water and local residents to ensure an appropriate balance between the requirements of the Port Safety Marine Code, ie dredging and the interests of local stakeholders.

The saga began in 2009 when the Harbour Wall collapsed on land owned by Yorkshire Water.

It carried out emergency repairs but it was also claimed damage had been caused to nearby properties and an expert was called in.

He discovered that: “While the circumstances that gave to the current issues have a number of origins, Yorkshire Water have understandaby expressed the view on the basis of the expert advice they have received, that the council’s dredging activity to maintain a safe channel in the harbour is a factor.”

Mr Anderson added: “The report makes clear I want authority to negotiate and indicates that the matter is to be resolved through negotiation.

“I cannot say before negotiations are concluded what the outcome will be.

“The report does not say the money is to pay for damage caused by dredging.

“Claims of damage have been made. Yorkshire Water and Scarborough Borough Council are working together with stakeholders toward a pragmatic solution.

“No admissions have been made.”