Why is Whitby’s East Pier ‘leaking’ after £7 million repairs?

Should the East Pier be ‘leaking’ after the £7.6 million repairs? A Whitby resident wrote to SBC (and their reply):

Dear Sir, I am writing to you in your capacity as the SBC Project Manager for the  recent repair works carried out on the two main piers in Whitby Harbour.

You will note from the attached photographs that two spouts of water are discharging from a location on the inner west elevation of the East Pier from one of the major stonework repairs carried out on this Pier thus raising a few issues:

  • The water is clearly discharging under a degree of pressure and this would suggest that it is being fed from a reservoir within the pier and I wonder how can that be? I understood from various reports that all voids behind the stonework repairs were to be filled with grout.
  • In order to maintain a reservoir, water must be continually getting into the structure again how can this be happening as surely one of the reasons for the grouting was to prevent that happening?

These photographs were taken 20 Oct 2019 and I have sought some colleagues’ advice on why this should be occurring, hence the delay in writing to you, however nobody can come up with a suitable explanation hence my email to you. I would be obliged if you, as the Project Manager, could explain why the discharges are occurring and what measures will take to rectify this defect before further damage occurs to the pier

Yours sincerely

A concerned resident of Whitby

Scarborough Borough Council replied on 09/01/20:

Dear xxxx, Thank you for your email and bringing this to our attention. I have passed your concerns on to the designer and the contractor of the piers project and they are investigating what you have highlighted. Hopefully I will be able to provide you with an update as to their findings once their investigations are complete. Regards Chris Bourne  BSc (Hons) MRICS


He also added the following background information about the £7 million Whitby Piers Project:

Whitby Piers Coast Protection Scheme

Project update: April 2019

A £7.6 million scheme to undertake refurbishment works to the East Pier and West Pier in the Yorkshire coast town of Whitby started in September 2018 and is due to be completed by the end of December 2019.

The scheme will result in the upgrading of the aged piers structures to improve their condition. Work will involve stabilising the external sandstone facing blocks of the piers, filling in any voids using concrete and also repairs to the top surface of the piers to prevent damage from water ingress during wave overtopping.

A flood wall is proposed at Battery Parade to lessen the impact of the waves that batter the slipway during high tides and in stormy sea conditions.

We have appointed Balfour Beatty to deliver the scheme on our behalf and we will be working with them to ensure that the agreed schedule is maintained as much as possible. However we are mindful that the timetable for works of this magnitude could be subject to the unpredictable influences of weather and the surrounding coastal environment.

The project is receiving up to £2.7 million of funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions are the managing authorities for European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund funding through the Growth Programme, funds established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development. By investing in projects the funds will help to support innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs. For more information visit gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

Funding has also been secured from: Environment Agency; York, Nork Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership; North Yorkshire County Council and Scarborough Borough Council.

For local residents and businesses immediately surrounding the site, Balfour Beatty is the main point of contact for the duration of the scheme. Their team will be based from site offices located on Endeavour Wharf. Anyone with any questions or queries about their day to day operations should contact Public Liaison Officer, Claire Firbank, on 07970 718167 or email claire.firbank@balfourbeatty.com

We are working closely with Balfour Beatty to ensure regular communication and engagement with the local community during the scheme. Project newsletters will be published below when they become available.


See lots more about www.Fight4Whitby.com  plus any replies from Scarborough Borough Council to the above letter about the ‘leaking’ pier plus how to donate to the Fight4Whitby legal costs. Thank-you.

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