£4.8 million grant for piers project

A grant worth over £4 million has been awarded to Whitby in a bid to protect the town from the sea.

The Environment Agency has finally given written confirmation to the borough council that it will fund essential repairs to the structure of the east and west piers.

It is being done under the coastal strategy as the function of the piers is a vital part of protecting Whitby as a town from the elements.

Coun Mike Cockerill, the council’s portfolio holder for harbours, assets, coast and flood protection said although people wouldn’t see any obvious results the works were vital but admitted they didn’t include the extensions.

He said: “A lot of it is going to be identifying and filling in voids that have formed within the structure of the piers because a lot of the piers built in that era are outer and inner.

“The walls have never been watertight so we get water ingressing, coming in and out and can drag out some of the material that has been used to fill it in. Other bits sink and it creates voids.

“The idea is to drill down and basically grout them, that will be a fair portion of the work.

“There is not going to be anything dramatic for people to see. But it is vital for the harbour and vital for Whitby. This is done under the coastal defences and that is what the piers are, they protect the town.”

Although, the council has been campaigning for the money for years, Coun Cockerill said the hard work starts now because they have to put the works out to tender and plan it in to the council schedule.

He said: “During the lead up to the submission officers work closely with the Environment Agency but you can never be 100 per cent but it is very nice to get the official letter, that is the big thing.”

There is also a separate project to set up match funding with another two bids to organisations, which would see a huge investment being made into harbour improvements, benefitting the fishing industry.

Coun Joe Plant has also been pushing for the piers to be upgraded.

He added: “It is fantastic news that we have got the written confirmation that the funding is there for the piers. It is what we have been waiting for and let’s get on with it as soon as we can.”