West Cliff lift is out of action – for rest of year

The closed cliff lift''w132812a
The closed cliff lift''w132812a

Beach hut users have started a petition calling for a refund of half the fees they pay to the council after it was announced this week that the cliff lift down to Whitby beach is likely to be out of action all year.

Now Maggie Hall, whose family has had a chalet for 65 years along with other users has gathered almost 100 signatures calling for a refund of £260 - half the £521 annual rent.

The lift, which operates between May and September on the town’s West Cliff, was closed for safety reasons since the Spring Bank holiday after a routine inspection of the liftshaft by engineers found many of the bolts had corroded.

Next week, senior borough councillors will consider a report recommending major repairs to the lift which are set to cost in the region of £85,000.

Following a series of further inspections, engineers have said that all of the lift’s bolts, more than 3,000 in total, need replacing.

They have also recommended that the replacement of the bolts is done slowly and methodically to ensure the lift shaft is not weakened while the works are carried out.

A full report detailing the nature and costs of the work required will be presented to members of the borough council at its cabinet meeting on Tuesday with officers recommending that the proposals are given the go-ahead - although it is unlikely that the lift will re-open this year.

Maggie hall, who regularly uses the lift to get down to the sea wall with her family said: “It’s beyond belief that 3,000 bolts can corrode over six months. The council should be forced to produce its maintenance record so we can see where the real work has been done.

“We have not been kept updated as to what has been going on and found out through the press.

“A lot of people have said to me the path is so steep down to the chalets they have to hold the railings but the nettles are so high along there they have been getting stung. The golf buggy is still not to being used efficiently with people kept waiting at the top.

Nick Edwards, the council’s director of business support said the extent of the works should not be underestimated or dismissed.

“The cliff lift shaft is 37 metres from top to bottom,” he said.

“It is lined with cast iron rings with each ring being approximately one metre deep and made up of ten segments. Each segment is drilled and bolted together and there are 100 nuts, bolts and washers to every ring with more than 3,000 bolts in total.

“On the basis of the facts as we understand them, the recommendation to councillors will be that the lift is repaired and brought back into operation.

“However the nature and extent of the works probably mean that we won’t be able to re-open the lift until the 2014 season.”

Mr Edwards added he would like to “stress” that the issue with the bolts isn’t a result of a lack of routine maintenance but a significant advancement in the rate of their deterioration in recent times.