WHITBY’S West Pier extension has been closed until further notice, causing widespread outcry and leading one councillor to comment that “people are going to start calling for resignations”.
Following an inspection of the footbridge between the West Pier and the extension, Scarborough Borough Council has closed the bridge, citing health and safety concerns.
However this has infuriated many residents, including Coun Ken Graham, who believes that money spent improving the marina should instead have been spent on the maintenance of Whitby monuments such as the two piers.
He said: “The money they had burnt a hole in their pocket and they spent it on the marina, on people that don’t even live around the harbour.
“It’s like a household spending all their money on wallpapering when they haven’t even got a roof.
“Instead they’re spending our council tax money on people that don’t live in the town, so they’re alienating local people.”
The inspection highlighted that the small bridge is significantly corroded and delaminated, resulting in a major reduction in its structural capacity.
The fact that the footbridge is extremely exposed to the elements has meant that its deterioration has been difficult to prevent, and SBC head of tourism and culture, Brian Bennett, said: “Public safety is our number one priority and for that reason we had no choice but to close the bridge.
“We fully understand that this will impact on the enjoyment of both people and visitors and for that we offer our apologies.
“We are fully committed to developing proposals for a fit for purpose replacement as soon as we possibly can and as part of those plans we will be looking for solutions that will provide a far more effective way of being able to maintain all aspects of the bridge structure in the future.”
The East Pier has long been inaccessible, although a £1.8million project is currently underway to repair it, and borough councillor Joe Plant said: “I’m quite shocked.
“Over the years I’ve attended many meetings and I can’t ever recall the West Pier being an issue.
“If the decision to close it has been made for public safety then we can’t go against that, but there will stll be lots of questions to answer.”