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£1m plan to prevent flooding in Whitby

High waves crash into West Pier during last years tidal surge. Picture: Ceri Oakes.
High waves crash into West Pier during last years tidal surge. Picture: Ceri Oakes.

A long-awaited £1million plan to protect homes and businesses from flooding in Whitby is finally beginning to move forward.

Almost two years after it was first proposed, a planning application has now been submitted to build a 300-metre long flood protection wall along the side of the town’s Church Street.

The plan was announced in 2015 following the devastating tidal surge of December 2013.

A freak combination of high tides and bad weather saw sea water reach exceptionally high levels. Whitby was plunged into darkness and scores of properties and homes left flooded.

The strength of the surge carried away cars from the Church Street car park and the total clean-up bill ran into the hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Scarborough Council’s planning application hopes to prevent this from happening again by constructing the wall and also and also installing floodgates at various points along Church Street, which runs alongside the harbour.

It is estimated that approximately 60 properties are at direct risk from another flood, with more than 20 of them listed buildings.

The application states: “The existing quay walls are the sole form of development at the eastern bank of River Esk in Whitby and do not provide a suitable standard of protection to the properties located on the eastern side of Church Street.

“Several properties identified as being at risk from flooding events in the area behind the river are considered heritage assets and contribute to the historic character of the area.

“Moreover, recreational and tourism-related activities that occur along Church Street are threatened by flooding to the same degree.

“As such, construction of defensive walls along the eastern bank of River Esk to protect these historical and residential assets is considered necessary.”

The level of protection will allow for a one in 100-year flooding event and will be reassessed for rising sea levels over the year.

The Environment Agency is putting in £672, 000 of the cost; the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Community will provide £246, 000 and the borough council £61, 000.

Whitby has a long history of flooding with records going back to 1800 and in addition to the 2013 incident, major floods were in 2005 and 2011.

A tidal surge which hit Whitby in January 2017 also caused flood damage to Pier Road.

It is thought that if nothing is done and factoring in climate change, the property risk could increase to over 80.

The planned flood walls will stretch along a 308m of Church Street and the overall height will not exceed 1.2m above ground level. New guard rails installed to the top of the flood wall.

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