Sunday 16th June 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

West Pier: Boat-Hoist Missing Link?

West Pier: Boat-Hoist Missing Link?

Harbours correspondent ALLAN ROBERTS has identified another “slip ‘twixt cup and lip” in the preparation of the 2022 West Pier Regeneration Plan.

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Following up on the article in this journal, dated April 2022, which described the lack of information and time given to the Town Deal Team by SBC Officers:

There are now suspicions emerging that the consultancy company, CSR Host Consultants, may also have been given insufficient information by the Council’s West Pier Regeneration Team for them to provide a credible and unbiased Business Plan for the West Pier regeneration project.

It is also becoming apparent that there are elements of risk mentioned in the West Pier Business Plan that are being disregarded in the delivery of that plan.

On p.31 of the Plan, under the heading of Procurement Strategy, is this gem:

Flexibility – allow for future schemes, development, innovation and new technology, ensuring SBC is not locked into long-term agreements.

This appears to be the only reference in the Business Plan document that emphasises the importance of ‘future proofing’ the scheme.

I acknowledge that this snippet is taken from the procurement section that deals with contracts, rather than planning.

Nevertheless, I would point out the importance of ensuring that any changes to the layout of the working areas of the West Pier do not inhibit any future plans for West Pier, and are relevant to the scheme in its entirety. As such, this is a risk factor that should apply to the whole of the scheme.

In June 2022, at the Council’s request, a credible Business Plan for a Boat-Hoist was produced or SBC, and duly accepted.

The plan was prepared by an independent person with a long career as a Project Manager of marine engineering projects worldwide.

This independent Plan, though ambitious, requires a different footprint to that of the Regeneration Plan.

Here is an image to compare the footprints of the two Plans (with the independent Boat-Hoist Plan shown below the SBC version):

The ambitious Boat-Hoist Plan seeks to utilise the space of the ‘dogleg’, by straightening the pier, to provide a bay for the Boat-Hoist to operate from and also to provide an access route to a maintenance area, overlooking the beach.

The Boat-HoistPlan would also provide an extra 1,650 square metres of much-needed quayside work space.

The West Pier Regeneration Plan however, is to demolish and rebuild a block of warehouses in the same location (though closer to the quayside), thus preventing any future development of the Boat-Hoist Plan (which SBC had already accepted), and ignoring the Council’s own advice to allow for:

Flexibility – to allow for future schemes, development, innovation and new technology”.

The West Pier Regeneration Business Plan was produced by CSR Host Consultants with contributions from SBC Officers and, I suggest, those contributions would have been overseen by the Council’s Regeneration Officer, Alex Richards.

Alex Richards was also the Council’s Project Manager and a member of the Team that produced the Redevelopment Plan back in 2012.

That Team was funded by DEFRA and led by the DEFRA Coastal Liaison Officer, who was tasked to produce a Redevelopment Plan for the West Pier and, in particular:

        “to secure the long-term future and sustainability of the under 10m fishing fleet in Scarborough.”

I have recently been provided with the following image, drawn up as part of that Plan.

The Plan is very much in ‘draft’ form, having been roughly sketched on a map of the Harbour kindly provided by Alex Richards (according to the accompanying text):

The 2012 DEFRA Redevelopment Plan is remarkably similar to that of SBC’s March 2022 Regeneration Plan, except that it includes provision for a Boat-Hoist facility, and shows the Boat-Hoist in approximately the same location as the more recent independent Boat-Hoist Business Plan of June 2022.

Interestingly, the documentation of the 2012 Plan also includes a detailed financial Business Plan specifically for the Boat-Hoist, including the projected costs and income, in spreadsheet form.

It is beyond doubt, then, that the Council’s Project Manager Alex Richards was involved in the production of the 2012 Redevelopment Plan and was well aware of the need for Boat-Hoist and all it entailed.

It is also beyond doubt that Mr Richards was involved with CSR Host Consultants who produced the March 2022 West Pier Regeneration Plan. One wonders how the 2012 draft Boat-Hoist provision slipped his mind?

In a further twist to this tale, an article in the Yorkshire Post, dated August 2022, states

“The council’s Harbour Executive said the hoist had broad support and was an ‘essential requirement’ to remain commercially competitive.

So the questions requiring a response from SBC are:

1) Why is a Boat-Hoist not included in the March 2022 West Pier Regeneration Plan?

2) Why does the 2022 West Pier Regeneration Plan not ‘future-proof’ itself by making provision, in the form of an access route and maintenance space for a Boat-Hoist at some time in the future, described by the Harbour Executive as an ‘essential requirement’for the port to remain commercially competitive, and as identified in the 2012 Defra findings?

3) Were CSR Host Consultants ever made aware of the need for a Boat-Hoist facility on West Pier, as identified in the findings of the 2012 DEFRA West Pier Redevelopment consultation exercise?

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