Bridge set for Friday opening

THE chairman of Whitby Harbour Board has confirmed that “given a bit of fair weather”, the West Pier extension will be re-opened on Friday.

Coun Mike Cockerill also admitted that if the initial design submitted by construction company DNC Scaffolding had matched the board’s specifications, the extension would already be open.

Revised plans were approved on Friday morning and the temporary project will fall under the £10,000 budget set by the harbour board, providing the work on the permanent bridge is not delayed.

Coun Cockerill said: “The revised plans were approved at lunchtime and I said ‘let’s get on with it’.

“Naturally we hope that the permanent bridge will be in place quicker as that would be a saving.”

Coun Cockerill also reserved sympathy for those businesses affected by the closure, such as Whitby Angling Supplies.

“Unfortunately it’s a fact of life,” he added.

“We try and mitigate it as much as possible by trying to keep the timescale as small as we can.

“When the harbour board came into being last year the board members were concerned about the condition of some of the assets and we asked for reports of all of them.

“The preliminary reports came through in May but the first opportunity we got to get a good look was early September, and when we found out it was in such a poor state we took immediate steps.

“It would have been nice to have a plan already in place but it might have been a waste of time, we needed that detailed report.”

For some residents the two months it has taken to get the temporary bridge in place is already too long, with one skipper saying that any self-respecting scaffolding company could have had a temporary bridge up in hours.

However, Coun Cockerill refuted that, saying: “I’ve been in engineering all my life and to say that a bridge could have been put up in a few hours to the specification that we submitted is somewhat of an exaggeration.

“If we hadn’t had to jump through various hoops and been bound by the rules and regulations and procedures then I’m sure it could have been open sooner, but that’s all part of life in local government.”