East Pier bridge set to be replaced, 17 years after it was removed

A historic footbridge linking the landmark East Pier to the pier extension is to be replaced, 17 years after it was first removed.

Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 10:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 10:10 am
The bridge linking the East Pier to the extension is set to be replaced. Picture: Ceri Oakes.

Scarborough Council is set to give listed building consent for the bridge to the Grade 2 east pier which projects some 400 metres into the sea.

David Walker, the council’s head of planning services, said: “The one on West Pier remains in place but the East Pier bridge was removed in 2001 because of its condition.

“The piers play a number of vital roles in respect of Whitby’s functions as a port and its historic identity.

“They help protect the town and harbour as coastal defences and in defining the entrance to the harbour, the setting of the town and its conservation area.”

He added: “They are a visitor attraction in their own right, providing an understanding of Whitby’s historic development and views of the town.

“By reason of their highly exposed location, they are inevitably prone to the erosive and potentially destructive effects of the sea and weather.”

Restoring the footbridge will improve access to the East Pier extension, which was, he said, in a council report, currently a “risky operation” for harbour staff who had to climb a ladder from a boat to reach the extension. The bridge restoration work is to be welcomed.”

Design work must also take into account the need to be robust to take into account the risk of damage from the North Sea in an exposed location.

However Historic England has said it has some concerns about the design of the structure and these have yet to be pursued said Mr Walker.

John Freeman, a well known Whitby artist and former Town Mayor, said the scheme was supported by Whitby District Tourism Association.

“It is a long overdue replacement of the link bridge.”

He added however that there are “serious concerns that other aspects of the extension will need considerable repairs due to the many years of neglect.

“These must be remedied at the same time or the public will be at considerable danger.”

The planning decision has been recommended for approval, subject to certain conditions, including that constructional drawings be submitted for planning approval, prior to the bridge being reinstalled.

The plans must show regard to the character and appearance of the Grade II listed structure.

A decision will be made on Thursday.

Last month, the council’s committee approved plans to make repairs to the piers which have suffered damage from the sea in recent years.