Letters: ‘Unforgivable’ false dawns on Whitby’s piers

Piers at Whitby. w172805g Picture: Maisie Pike. 12 July 2017.
Piers at Whitby. w172805g Picture: Maisie Pike. 12 July 2017.

The Whitby Gazette included an article entitled ‘Pier tests ahead of repairs. Restoration set for next year.’

Cllr Cockerill portrayed the load testing on the piers as some sort of major step forward.

In fact the tests are a preliminary precautionary measure that any responsible contractor would carry out before starting work, especially on piers riddled with voids and walls bedevilled with defects.

Furthermore, because Scarborough Borough Council now has a restoration scheme and a quotation for the work will not by themselves advance the restoration works.

The fact remains that until the borough council commit funding and/or secure grants from other sources work will not commence next year, or indeed any other year.

Ironically, if Scarborough Borough Council had not chosen to divert monies - ring-fenced for the maintenance and development of the harbour, to other projects; then the necessary funding would now be readily available.

If we move onto the pier extensions we now know that Scarborough Borough Council has not, despite giving undertakings, carried out a dive survey since 2008.

Consequently they have no idea of the current extent of the excessive corrosion, holing or disintegration to the protective sheet piling, how much existing voids have enlarged or what new voids have been created.

Therefore they are unaware if any emergency works currently need to be carried out. That is unforgivable.

In 2009 the consultant, Royal Haskoning, advised Scarborough Borough Council that 11 specific ladders on the four piers were either extensively corroded, or missing rungs, or weakened by rotten timbers and loose fittings.

The wire rope rails on the two extensions were also significantly corroded.

Urgent repairs were required to protect ‘the public, operational and maintenance staff from falls leading to severe injury, potentially fatal.’

Eight years later this vital work has still not been addressed, apart from some new cabling at the north end of the West Pier Extension.

Sadly, it is now some 15 years since the link between the East Pier and its extension was ‘temporarily’ removed in 2002.

The townsfolk often wonder if they will ever see its like again.

What the people of Whitby are looking for from Scarborough Borough Council is not another meaningless press release.

They already have files full of those.

Rather than just another false dawn, they desperately pray for some serious financial commitment and some contractor’s boots on the ground.

Vin McLaughlan

Egton Bridge