Spa Coast Protection Scheme – ground investigation

Drilling work is due to begin in early September as part of a £290,000 investigation into ground conditions in Scarborough’s South Cliff Gardens.

The results will help shape the design of the cliff stabilisation and coast protection scheme, which we are planning.

The investigation work, expected to last four weeks and paid for with an Environment Agency grant, will see a series of boreholes drilled through the cliff up to a depth of 40m (131ft). Three boreholes will also be drilled through the promenade in front of the Spa. These will be up to 20m deep to determine the depth of the bedrock.

Additional monitoring equipment to complement existing equipment will be installed in the new boreholes to measure groundwater levels and movements within the cliff and will be monitored for an initial period of six months to provide data for the design of the coast protection scheme. Samples will be taken from the boreholes during the ground investigation, which will include soil samples and rock cores. Those samples will be tested in specialist laboratories to provide information on the composition and strength of the materials in the ground.

We apologise for any disruption, which may be caused as a result of the temporary closure of some footpaths in the South Cliff Gardens but the measures are necessary to allow the drilling work to be carried out without putting the safety of the public at risk. Information about footpath closures will be posted at the Spa and on Esplanade for the duration of the work and diversions will also be signposted.

Cllr Mike Cockerill, Cabinet Member for Harbours, Assets, Coast and Flood Protection, said:

“Although there is some existing information available as a result of previous works and ongoing monitoring, more information is needed about ground conditions including geology, groundwater and depths of ground movement to help determine the design of the structures that will make up the final coast protection scheme.

“It’s critical we come up with a combined solution to ensure the long term stability of both the sea wall and the cliffs, as, contrary to some opinions expressed in the media, the two elements are very much connected.”

The current condition of the sea wall is deteriorating and while a make-do-and-mend approach has worked to a degree until now, there are significant signs of undercutting of the toe, cracking and loss of joint material, voiding behind the sea wall and displacement of masonry blocks, all affecting the stability of the wall.

If the sea wall fails and erosion occurs, the cliff would become even more unstable and the likelihood of a major landslide increases greatly. If a major landslide does happen, it is likely it will overrun the sea wall and destroy it completely – this scenario was played out during the Holbeck Hall landslip in 1993. Collapse of the sea wall would allow erosion to start either side of the landslip and the cliff could unravel either side leading to further landslides.


Sea defence costs to be investigated

Scarborough SpaThe cost implications of two sea defence options to protect the coastline in Scarborough’s South Bay will be presented to the borough council’s Cabinet in the New Year.

It follows a meeting at which senior councillors fully endorsed officers’ recommendations to improve the sea defences around the Spa and carry out cliff-stabilisation works in the South Bay, where there is already dramatic evidence of ground movement.

Cabinet decided that officers’ preferred option of a moderate height wave wall with rock revetment, along with the option of a concrete stepped revetment should be investigated further. Both options would help protect public assets such as the Spa.

Once the cost implications of the two options have been evaluated, a further report will be submitted to Cabinet in February when councillors will decide which one they want to see put forward in a business case to attract Environment Agency funding.

Cllr Andrew Backhouse, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet portfolio holder for coastal and flood defences, said: “The decision to endorse the need to improve the sea defences in front of the Spa and address the cliff instability issues behind the Spa is pleasing.

Scarborough Spa Coast Protection Scheme

The Scarborough Spa Coast Protection Scheme aims to provide long term coastal stability for the stretch of coastline around the Spa Complex.

The project covers the area from the access steps leading down to the foreshore at the northern end of the Spa Complex, to the slipway at Children’s Corner which is at the end of the Colonnade section in the vicinity of the Clock Café.