UPDATE: Dawn destruction - demolition work to begin at 8am

The scene of the landslide on Aelfleda Terrace''w124704h
The scene of the landslide on Aelfleda Terrace''w124704h

THE DIFFICULT task of dismantling five Victorian cottages is set to begin at 8am tomorrow morning (Saturday 1 December).

The Aelfleda Terrace buildings were scheduled for demolition today but further movement has delayed the work.

Panoramic view of the East side of the Whitby where the landslide occured''w124710

Panoramic view of the East side of the Whitby where the landslide occured''w124710

A spokesperson for Scarborough Borough Council said: “Initially, we wanted to do the work around the clock, but risk assessments indicated it would be unsafe to do so at night time with the ground so unstable – it’s absolutely imperative we have the ability to see any ground movement in the wider area. Even with the limited artificial light we could have put in, we feel it still would not have been sufficient to allow reliable monitoring of the slope –clearly the welfare of the contractors and the wider public during this delicate process is of the upmost importance.

“Instead, we will be operating 12-hour shifts, with demolition work provisionally scheduled to begin tomorrow. It means the work to bring down the properties will take a little bit longer than first anticipated and we ask for people’s continued patience and understanding.”

It is expected that the demolition work will take place manually, with workmen reaching the site by using a ‘cherry-picker’ crane.

This could allow property to be recovered intact, whereas it was previously believed that all items would be lost.

The scene of the landslide on Aelfleda Terrace''w124704c

The scene of the landslide on Aelfleda Terrace''w124704c

Heavy machinery has been ruled out due to instability on the site, meaning the work is expected to take a number of days.

The borough council is taking the decisive action to bring down the properties following rigorous assessment by North Yorkshire Building Control and structural engineers, with specialist demolition contractors, RGS, due to begin work once all the site preparations have been completed.

The council said they had received a number of calls from nearby residents who have asked if they are at risk, but all the evidence gathered so far suggests this landslide activity is localised to the properties already identified in Aelfleda Terrace.

The demolition work follows the successful installation of a temporary road to Aelfleda Terrace, across a field between the properties and Whitby Abbey. Permission for the temporary road was granted by English Heritage. The council and its principal contractor, Transcore, are aware of the sensitivities of the historic site and will be closely following English Heritage’s advice while the work is carried out.

Two site compounds have also been set up close to Aelfleda Terrace and will be in place for the duration of the work.

In preparation for the demolition, a platform is being constructed behind the terraced properties, which will allow RGS to work on the buildings without putting any additional loading on the unstable ground.

Yesterday, a large tree which was in danger of toppling over as a result of the landslide was brought down in a controlled manner, with nearby families evacuated to the Green Lane Centre while the work was carried out.

If nearby residents require further information, they can contact the council’s housing manager, Andrew Rowe on 01723 383598.