‘Lives at risk’ if Bay sea defences ignored

Robin Hood's Bay is under threat should coastal defences fail
Robin Hood's Bay is under threat should coastal defences fail

Sea defences in Robin Hood’s Bay need “urgent attention” according to council officials who are recommending a detailed study is carried out ahead of a potential bid for cash to carry out repairs.

It is estimated that if work is not done, 44 properties could be lost and lives put in danger if the sea wall which protects the village fails.

When members of the borough council’s cabinet meet on Tuesday they will be asked to accept a £50,000 grant from the Environment Agency to carry out detailed investigations and identify what can be done to prevent the collapse.

Jim Dillon is chief executive of the authority and in a report prepared for the authority he warns: “The sea wall currently defends 44 properties that would be lost to erosion within the next 100 years should the sea wall be left to fail.”

The concrete sea wall was installed in 1973 and Mr Dillon explained it is coming to the end of its design life. He added: “Risk to life is a concern and would be a major consequence should the wall fail.”

The restoration of the defences would be the latest part in a borough-wide scheme to update the area’s aging coastal defence system.

The council’s cabinet member for coast and flood protection is Councillor Mike Cockerill and he said the overall cost of any scheme would be around £993,000.

He added: “We have got sea waters that erode the coastline and we have also got the rainfall that can cause cliff sides.

“We have to deal with forces above and below.”

At the meeting councillors will be told there is an increasing risk of falling debris and eventually the failure of the wall.

Members of the cabinet are being urged to accept the £50,000 grant, which will fully fund the study. Members will be told that backing the project does not commit the council to contributing to any possible future scheme.

Robin Hood’s Bay has had a long history of coastal erosion problems and since 1780 over 200 properties have been lost due to coastal erosion.