Big engineering project stabilises Spa slope

Words and photos by Dave Barry 

A major engineering project designed to stabilise the hillside behind Scarborough Spa is under way.

Most of the trees and shrubbery have been removed from the area, which will be replanted.

All the paths have been closed to the public for several weeks.

The work is critical for reducing the risk of a landslip damaging or destroying properties on the Esplanade.

Ed Hinton of the Environment Agency said the work would help protect 380 homes. “We work closely with local authorities, providing advice and guidance, to help them plan for and manage coastal erosion”, he said.

Piling and an almost horizontal drainage system are being inserted in the gardens.

Most of the £13,453,000 cost is being covered by an £11.6m Defra grant administered by the Environment Agency.

The difference of £1,853,000 will be paid by the borough and county councils.

The work is not connected to the landslip below the Clock Cafe and should be finished by the end of next year, the council says.

“The council and its contractor are, however, mindful that the timetable for works of this magnitude could be subject to the unpredictable influences of weather and the surrounding coastal environment”, says a spokesperson for the authority.

Cllr Mike Cockerill, a council cabinet member whose remit includes coastal protection, says: “Alongside the delivery of the project, we will be working closely with Balfour Beatty to ensure regular communication and engagement with the South Cliff community throughout the course of the work”, he added.

Stephen Semple of Balfour Beatty adds: “We have extensive coastal protection experience and have successfully completed numerous cliff stabilisation schemes”.

It was a good job the Balfour Beatty drilling crew had a hosepipe and water supply handy when grass caught fire right next to the Spa. It was quickly put out, but not before a big plume of grey smoke arose from the area.