Town’s councillors speak out against danger rocks

ROCK armour that would protect Whitby’s east pier would also be a “danger to shipping”, according to one town councillor.

Speaking at Whitby Town Council’s full meeting on Tuesday, Coun Ken Graham said that the majority of residents and skippers are against the idea, but that their objections are being ignored.

He said: “Most people in Whitby have expressed concerns regarding rock armour and I know a lot of skippers are against it.

“Judging from the response of skippers, it just adds danger.

“If there are people who are requesting rock armour, they’re certainly not in the know as it’s an absolute danger to shipping.”

The proposal to place rock revetments on the seaward face of the east pier has arisen as part of the Whitby Coastal Strategy 2.

The plan highlights £20million of work that is required to completely repair both piers and their extensions and the use of rock armour has been suggested as part of this.

Coun Graham added: “Here we go again, they just totally ignore our views.

“It’s my concern that the rock armour, so close to a navigation channel, isn’t fixed in place.

“The rocks move and they are large enough to sink a craft.

“In a busy port like Whitby, after a storm who’s going to certify the entrance of the harbour as safe?

“It’s not a practical solution and it’s not safe.”

Coun John Dickinson echoed this sentiment when he recalled accidentally striking a pier when he was dredging master.

He said: “I hit the pier with the old dredger and I actually thought I had sunk the boat.

“If there had been rock armour it would have sunk the old dredger.”

Other councillors pointed out that the rocks themselves could do serious damage to the pier if they are lifted up and thrown against it in a heavy storm.

“It’s mistaken and misguided,” said Coun Ian Havelock.

He pointed out that any rocks would be difficult to move if maintenance was required, adding: “It’s entirely unacceptable and entirely unnecessary.”

However, there appears to be few alternatives and Coun Niall Carson said: “The one thing that’s even more important for Whitby is that the piers survive.

“If we lose the piers it means more flooding of Whitby so if we have got to accept it and if it’s going to maintain the piers then that’s the correct decision.”

The experts who created the Whitby Coastal Strategy 2 have said that any rock armour would be made of sandstone.

This would match the piers visually but is easier to erode than granite, which is an alternative that has been utilised in Scarborough, and so councillors questioned whether granite boulders faced with sandstone can be used.

Coun Graham said: “If they are going to go ahead then granite would be the best solution, but sandstone just doesn’t stand up to the job.”

The town council voted to allow Coun Graham to investigate the matter further.