Temporary flood defence barrier would make more sense

“A solid flood wall along Church Street, in one of our main Conservation Areas, has just been approved by Scarborough Borough Council (SBC). They are also looking at a flood deflector wall near Whitby’s West Pier.

Instead of playing King Canute with concrete, why don’t they just accept that a number of times per year Pier Road / Church Street / New Quay Road will be flooded – but only to a depth of about 1 foot, at entirely predictable times and only for a few hours?

NOTHING will withstand a storm surge up the Battery slipway, but all that energy soon dissipates as it spreads down Pier Road. Or it would have done, if further kiosks, toilets and walls without drainage holes had not been built. Why not just protect the properties and let the flood water drain back into the river when the tide goes out?

The Swedes and Dutch, and even the City of Newcastle, just put up temporary flood barriers. The INERO system protects against 1.7 metres of water, and 6 people can install 100m of it in 1 hour. SBC could probably buy enough temporary flood barriers to protect the WHOLE of Whitby town centre for the £2m it plans to spend on building 300m of concrete wall along Church Street.

Perhaps we should also be doing more to restrict the flow of the River Esk, using a scheme similar to the ‘Slow the Flow’ success in Pickering?

What are our councillors and officers doing to protect our town? Nothing sensible, by the look of it.

Even the lead local flood authority (North Yorks County Council) required additional information to be submitted to the local planning authority, before an informed decision could be made. Nine questions were asked, including: ‘It is understood that the levels on either side of the river are approximately the same. Should the flood defence wall be installed, can the applicant confirm that they won’t be an increased flood risk on the opposite side of the river, should there be a surge?’

This planning application seems to have been approved without any adequate responses given, and no thought for the Conservation Area. Many alternatives to solid walls are available.

Joyce Stangoe, Whitby”

[With thanks and acknowledgements to the Editor, Whitby Gazette. This letter was published in the Whitby Gazette on 20 July 2018].

Find out LOTS more about Whitby’s crumbling piers, etc at www.fight4whitby.com .


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