West Pier: Piles of Money?
Harbours correspondent ALLAN ROBERTS seems to have identified a previously ovrerlooked source of funding to facilitate a full repair to the West Pier sheet-piling dilapidation. And set some cracks appearing in the administration’s (rocky) armour?
A recent announcement from DEFRA last week, dated 25th November 2022, states:
“£65 million is being made available today for infrastructure projects as the latest round of funding opens for bidding.
The UK Seafood Fund is a landmark government investment supporting the long-term future and sustainability of the UK fishing and seafood industry, with the infrastructure strand of the Fund helping to pay for upgrades to ports, processing and aquaculture facilities so they can meet future demand whilst also boosting jobs and economic growth.”
Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer, welcomed the news. When commenting on this funding stream, he said:
“Fishing communities are an important part of the UK’s heritage and they make a valuable contribution to our economy so we are backing them with funds to boost growth and opportunities across the industry.
This funding will ensure seafood businesses throughout the supply chain are well-equipped to keep pace with increasing demand at home and abroad, boosting production and sustainability and building a resilient sector for the future.”
This has got be be good news, too, for SBC CEO and Harbours Supremo Mr Nick Edwards, in that it ticks all the boxes of his recent Proposal to spend £1.35 million merely to “patch up” the West Pier sheet -piling, in order to extend its life for a limited duration of 10 years (according to his Report), which also describes the work as “essential”.
I also understand that if the sheet-piling was to be totally replaced, then the cost would be in the region of £4 million.
The facts are:
- that SBC is eligible to bid for up £5 million, which would requirea match-funding contribution from SBC of 25% (i.e. £1.25 million);
- that the Council have already earmarked £1.35m for the “patch up” piling work;
- that if a bid for £4 million was successful, then it would cost the Council just £1 millionin match funding contributions, a saving to the Council Taxpayer of £350,000!
So, for significantly less outlay than has already been budgeted bySBC, instead of extending the life of the sheet-piling by a mere 10 years, they could have, say, 50 years peace of mind.
And finally, although this funding opportunity will meet at least the 4 core “6 Critical Success Factors” identified within the West Pier Regeneration Business Case, it is clear that the sheet-piling renewal can, and must, go ahead as an independent ‘stand-alone project’, without interference from the Town Deal Board team. I quote:
Scarborough West Pier Regeneration Business Plan
The long list of options were assessed against 6 Critical Success Factors;
- Creates a desirable visitor destination through a transformational change
- Supports a thriving fishing industry
- Optimises public value
- Is deliverable
- Can be delivered within available funding streams
- Contributes to carbon reduction and sustainability
Applications must be submitted to DEFRA before midday on 3rd February 2023.
Izzy whizzy, let’s get busy!