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A temporary barrier for Whitby flood defences ‘makes more sense’

View of Church Street and the harbour''w132427b
View of Church Street and the harbour''w132427b

Scarborough Borough Council have approved a wall along Church Street, in one of our main conservation areas and are now looking at a flood deflector wall adjacent to the west pier, a listed building, instead of the previously suggested Battery Parade flood gate.

Instead of playing King Canute with concrete, why don’t they just accept that a number of times a year Pier Road/Church Street/New Quay Road will be flooded - but only to a maximum depth of about 1ft, at entirely predictable times and only for a few hours? Nothing will withstand a storm surge up the battery slipway - but all that energy soon dissipates as it spreads down Pier Road, or it would have done if further kiosks, toilets and walls without drainage holes had not been built.

Why not just protect the properties and let the flood water drain back into the river when the tide goes out?

The Swedes and Dutch, and even the city of Newcastle, just put up temporary flood barriers.

The INERO system protects against up to 1.7m of water - and six people can install 100m of it in one hour.

Scarborough Borough Council could probably buy enough temporary flood defence to protect the whole town centre for the £2m it plans to spend on building 300m of wall along Church Street.

Perhaps we should also be doing more to restrict the flow on the Esk as well, using a scheme similar to Pickering’s ‘Slowing the Flow’ project.

What are our councillors and officers doing to protect our town – nothing sensible by the look of it. Even the lead local flood authority (North Yorkshire County Council) required additional information to be submitted to the local planning authority before an informed decision could be made – nine questions were asked including the following, “It is understood that the levels on either side of the river are approximately the same. Should the flood defences be installed, can the applicant confirm that there won’t be an increased flood risk on the opposite side of the river should there be a surge?”

This planning application appears to have been approved without any adequate responses given, and no thought for conservation area where many alternatives to walls are available.

Joyce Stangoe

St Andrew’s Road

Whitby