Defences project to protect from flooding

Whitby is plunged into darkness after a sub station caught fire on New Quay Road after floods''Church Street car park''w134924n
Whitby is plunged into darkness after a sub station caught fire on New Quay Road after floods''Church Street car park''w134924n

A project costing almost £1 million is set to be implemented in Whitby to help protect over 60 properties from future flood risks.

Flood walls and gates will be constructed along Church Street in front of the 54 homes and eight businesses which were among the worst hit during the devastating tidal surge of December 2013.

It was the worst case of flooding the town had seen for over 50 years and even now some people have had to move permanently.

The existing defences were not enough to prevent water spilling over so a major part of the project includes raising the height of walls along the street by up to half a metre.

Other measures earmarked for the first phase are:

l raising the pontoon access in the car park and filling the gaps in the existing wall

l flood resilience/protection to the back of the Fleece pub

l replace wall around Seaman’s Hospital Garden with a formal flood wall and re-locate the summer houses

l create flood walls between the Seaman’s Garden and Eskside Wharf

l access steps for fishermen using the quay to store lobster pots to be constructed next to the garden

l install a flood gate for access where the Penny Hedge ceremony takes place.

The project is going to be put to senior councillors at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and they are expected to back it.

The Environment Agency is putting in £672, 000; the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Community will provide £246, 000 and the borough council £61, 000. A contingency pot has also been factored in.

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

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

The project also fits in with the Whitby Coastal Strategy 2 which has been drawn up to manage the risks to people and the natural environment from flooding, coastal erosion and instability over the next 100 years.

However, the scheme still has to take into account that the solution must be sympathetic to the aesthetics of the area, not detract from the town’s tourism appeal and not impact on aspirations for Whitby to get World Heritage site status.

It is expected contractors - appointed in the next few months - will spend six months drawing up a detailed scheme to be started in April 2016.