Uncertainty lingers over funding bids for repairs to Whitby's piers
The final decision on a funding grant that must be secured before work can commence on Whitby's piers is not yet known.
In a report to go before the borough council next week, portfolio holder Mike Cockerill will tell councillors that the final decision is still pending.
The council has applied to the European Structural and Investment Funds for a grant of Â£2.7 million towards the repair works, which, if secured, would mean that contractors can commence work.
Cllr Cockerill’s report adds: “In the meantime work continues in progressing the draft contract with Balfour Beatty to enable the works to commence on site at the earliest opportunity.”
In a report published by the Whitby Gazette in February, Cllr Cockerill said: “Providing that we get all the funding, work will start this year. We are fully committed to starting the project this year.”
Planning permission to repair the flood defences, which date back to the 18th century, was granted in December, but work cannot commence until the funding bids have been secured. The piers have protected the town from the sea’s wrath since the 18th century, but the Grade II listed structures have fallen into a state of disrepair.
In March the council voted to allocate a budget of Â£9 million to repair the structures. This means that once the relevant funds have been secured from bids to external agencies, work can commence straight away. The condition of the piers has been highlighted by campaigners who have called for their restoration for a number of years, including the Fight4Whitby group.
Campaigners from the group have insisted that money generated from Whitby harbour should have been ring fenced for the repairs. They argue that if this had been done over recent years, then this income would have helped pay for the vital repair work.
According to Cllr Cockerill, the piers are said to be in a structurally sound condition as it stands, with “nothing to suggest that they are going to fall down in the short term”.