Work starts on £2m flood protection scheme

New concrete flood wall to safeguard some Church Street properties

“Work on the £2million scheme to help protect Whitby from tidal flooding is under way, and is expected to be completed by the end of Spring 2020. The flood alleviation scheme will involve the construction of a reinforced concrete flood wall, 303 metres long with an average height of 0.95 metres, on Church Street. It will improve the flood protection for 54 homes and 8 commercial properties.

“Whitby has a long history of tidal flooding, with records back to the 1800s. Tidal flooding of the Church Street and New Quay areas of the town centre occurs relatively frequently. Major events were most recently reported in 2005 and 2011. Church Street also flooded during the December 2013 Storm Surge, causing the flooding of many properties and the road itself, which caused major disruption.

“There are currently no formal flood defences in place to prevent overtopping of the quay walls. The existing quay walls function as retaining walls and to prevent erosion from fluvial and tidal flows. Therefore any tide which exceeds the height of the top of the quay walls flows onto the road and then floods adjacent properties opposite.

“The new flood wall will run adjacent to the public footpath from Parkol Marine to Church Street car park. It will be constructed to withstand a ‘1 in 100 years’ type of tidal flooding event. It will also comply with Defra and the Environment Agency Best Practice on coastal defence management.

“Part of Church Street car park is closed to vehicles during the site set-up. Once construction begins in a few weeks, there will be no parking available in the car park. Alternative car parking will be available at the Abbey Headland car park, with a free shuttle bus provided for car park users wishing to travel into Whitby town centre and back. See Scarborough Borough Council’s (SBC) website.

“Esh Group will carry out the construction and the project is being managed Mott Macdonald on behalf of SBC.

“Council Leader Steve Siddons said: ‘This new flood wall is timely work when we are seeing an increasing frequency of tidal breaches and I am really pleased at how SBC, Environment Agency and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have worked very well together over a number of years to get the scheme started. Complex schemes like this are time-consuming. Funding solutions are not always as straight forward as we would like and I will continue to lobby central government to release more funds for councils and their partners to deliver more flood alleviation schemes.’

“The largest funding contribution for the scheme, £1.1 million, came from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, administered by North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP, as part of the Northern Powerhouse. The scheme was  awarded a Defra Coast and Flood Protection Grant in Aid of £672,000 by the Environment Agency.

“Ed Hinton, Coastal Flood Risk Advisor at the Environment Agency, said: ‘We are really pleased to see construction work on the Church Street flood alleviation scheme get under way. Not only does the scheme better protect 62 properties from tidal flooding, it also better defends a major road in and out of the town, helping to keep the town open for business in times of [very] high tides. This scheme in conjunction with the ongoing £9million investment to upgrade the piers, will help to better protect people and properties into the future. This includes helping to mitigate the effects of future sea level rise.’

“Other contributions towards the cost of the Church Street flood wall scheme are £246,000 from the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee’s Local Levy, £61,000 from SBC and £15,000 from NYCC.”

With acknowledgements and thanks to the Editor of the Whitby Gazette, where this front page story was published on 04 July 2019.

BUT you may think that by far the most urgent job is to repair the crumbling Extensions to both the East and West Piers, as these are the first line of defence against the North Sea storms, but are not due for repairs until about 2030…

BUT you may wonder if the flood waters soon to be stopped from flooding that bit of East Whitby won’t just go and flood the West side of Whitby instead…

BUT you may think that the ‘1 in 100 year’ flood event has already happened several times in the last 100 years, eg 2013, 2011 and 2005, not to mention the big floods in the 1950s and 1930s, but luckily most 100-year olds can no longer remember that far back…

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