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Rock armour protection scheme could

be delayed over sediment flow worry


ON THE BRINK: The state of the cliff edge at Withernsea’s Golden Sands Holiday Park

  By Nicola Watson  

A £5.2 MILLION ROCK armour scheme to protect Withernsea homes and the crucial road links is hanging in the balance. Natural England has raised concerns over sediment flow to the Humber if the scheme goes ahead. It has previously requested further information about the plans to find out how it could affect sediment flow and what impact that would have.

But there are fears the public body – the government’s advisor for the natural environment - in England could stall the South Withernsea Coastal Erosion Protection Scheme. This is a 400-metre rock extension to protect land, homes and the coast road on Withernsea’s southern boundary.

East Riding Council’s proposed scheme would protect approximately 59 residential properties, 300 holiday chalets and static caravans.

On Friday a group of neighbours met local councillors at the Golden Sands Holiday Park which has lost land on the cliff edge due to coastal erosion.

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart says Natural England’s concern means it will object to the scheme’s planning application which goes to East Riding’s planning committee this autumn.

“I understand Natural England has concerns the protections will affect sediment flow to the Humber, but following our discussions I hope they have a deeper understanding that the proposed scheme is critically important for the future of Withernsea and the surrounding area, and that their support at the planning stage is important,” he said.

He has written to Northern Powerhouse minister, Jake Berry MP, reiterating concerns that Natural England may not fully appreciate its objection over possible environmental impact which is insignificant, when compared to the devastating effects the loss of the road would have.

Last November Mr Berry visited and pushed for the scheme to get European Regional Development Funding. (ERDF) It is through to the second stage of an ERDF funding application for £3m towards the £5.5m cost, with East Riding council providing the balance. The final decision is expected next month.

South East Holderness Ward Councillor Dave Tucker said: “This is a unique situation. We stand to lose the road, which is crucial for Withernsea and critical to those living south of the town, in Holmpton, Easington, Kilnsea and then of course there is the gas terminal, access for blue light services and the loss of the infrastructure: the electricity, gas and other services. Natural England’s reluctance to support the scheme at the planning stage is worrying. This is due to a concern over the sediment reduction flow to the Humber Estuary of 0.4 per cent, which is a small amount. We are working hard to make progress as quickly as we can.”

Chris Brawley of Newsham Gardens, estimates his house to be 60 metres from the cliff edge and if the road goes it will be worthless.

He said: “When I bought my property 20 years ago I was told we would have 100 years, that’s how fast the erosion has taken hold, now I’m lucky if I’ll get another five. Six or seven of the properties on the street are now rented out as they haven’t been able to sell. For the price I’d get for my property if I was to put it up for sale, I wouldn’t be able to buy anything in this area similar to what I have now. I can’t remortgage.”

A Natural England spokesperson said: “We fully appreciate the importance of this scheme for local communities and the tight timescales involved. That is why we are working closely with East Riding Council, with further discussions planned regarding the scheme and the internationally important local ecology.”

The Holderness Gazette - Serving News to the Holderness Region