Part 2 of a letter about safety railings sent to Fight4Whitby and also published in the Whitby Gazette this month.
- The 2009 Royal Haskoning report made the following comment in respect of the East Pier: ‘The pier has no guard rail around the pier edge despite drops of up to 8m, with the exception of the last 80m on the seaward side. Whilst the pier is less popular with the public, the risk of falls by the public, operational and maintenance staff remains due to the exposed nature of the piers, warn surfacing and trips hazards.’ Why have SBC ignored this warning for the last ten years?
- As somebody who regularly enjoys a walk along both of the Whitby piers , I have noticed that the East Pier has become increasingly popular in recent years. So, once the long-awaited and much-missed footbridge between the East Pier and its extension is reintroduced over the winter months, then the number of people using this pier will invariably increase quite dramatically
- I have exchanged a number of emails with SBC’s Major Projects Portfolio Holder, Cllr Cockerill. The outcome might be summarised as follows:
- He does not dispute the dangers that I have outlined.
- He advises that SBC consider the provision of safety handrails on the East Pier was ‘not felt to be practical.’ I have , in response, stated out that it is a straight forward installation, and that circa 400 metres of suitable surplus hand railing will be available from the Church Street Flood Alleviation Scheme. The total perimeter of the East Pier is approximately 600 metres.
- Cllr Cockerill says SBC also believes that ‘it might not be possible to obtain the necessary listed consent.’ I am confident that no responsible planning committee would reject an SBC application which explained the health and safety issues.
- Finally Cllr Cockerill has made it very clear ‘that there are no plans to erect railings on the East Pier.’
- I closed by stating that ‘this is in my view is wrong, illogical and totally unacceptable.
- Last November I emailed all the SBC councillors urging them to press vigorously for the immediate installation of safety hand railing and external ladders on the East Pier. I also copied the email to the Duty Holder and the Designated Person under the SBC Safety Management System. Seven councillors replied Six appreciated or shared my concerns, and two of them personally undertook to take the matter up with relevant members of the cabinet and the appropriate executive officers.
- However, to date, I am unaware of any SBC commitment to install the hand railing and the ladders. Will it take a tragedy to belatedly extract their head from the sand and do the right thing?
Vin McLaughlan, Whitby