East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Bridlington Harbour Commissioners have agreed to continue working closely together to explore a revised proposal within the town's harbour area after recent feasibility work - undertaken by internationally-renowned professional services firm Arup - concluded that the current financial climate would mean that initial proposals for the Yorkshire Harbour and Marina Project would not be commercially viable.
The news is extremely disappointing for both organisations, who have been working together since 2015 to try and bring the larger project forward.
The council and commissioners had identified a preferred option for the scheme, which would have seen the commercial fishing fleet stay in the existing harbour and a new outer pier constructed to berth leisure craft in a new marina.
However, this option had a projected cost of around £115 million, including costs and contingency, which would have required a substantial amount of external funding to be secured. It would have involved £75 million for the new marina but would have also required around £40 million being spent updating the existing harbour infrastructure.
Councillor Stephen Parnaby OBE, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "Working together, the council and Bridlington Harbour Commissioners have advanced plans for the Yorkshire Harbour and Marina Project to a stage never achieved before. "It is with a heavy heart that the decision has had to be made to put this game-changing project on hold. "Throughout the process, the council and the commissioners have always looked at developing a scheme that was affordable, workable and deliverable. "Unfortunately, due to the current financial climate and the information supplied by Arup, indications are that the scheme would be unaffordable."However, too much progress has been made in recent years for us to sit and dwell on this disappointing news, so the council and the commissioners have decided to seize the opportunity and look at other ways in which we can work together to help regenerate this important part of the town."
Bridlington Harbour is home to the largest shellfish port in Europe and is worth more than £50 million a year to the local economy.
Its importance to the town cannot be understated. Therefore, the council and commissioners will explore options to invest in the harbour infrastructure to modernise facilities for the fishing fleet and potentially create additional berths for leisure craft in an in-harbour development. The environment around the harbour will also be looked at to attract private sector investment.
Chris Wright, chairman of Bridlington Harbour Commissioners, said: "Having worked closely with the council over the past two years on the Yorkshire Harbour and Marina Project, it is disappointing that we cannot proceed with the preferred option. "What we can do, however, is build on the positives of what have been achieved so far and continue to work in partnership for the benefit of Bridlington and its economy."By looking at investing in the existing harbour infrastructure, we can safeguard the town's important fishing industry and lay the foundations for future development."
Funding for the project design and pre-construction work undertaken by Arup was funded by a £3.5 million grant from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership and has helped identify works required to the existing harbour as well as highlight areas of investment that could benefit Bridlington in the long-term.
David Dickson, chair of the Infrastructure Board from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, said: "Regenerating Bridlington and the harbour area remains a priority for the local enterprise partnership. We will continue to work with all partners to deliver new opportunities and investment into the town."
From the beginning of the new millennium up to 2020, more than £100 million of public investment has been/will be made in Bridlington which has in turn attracted around £75 million of private sector investment to date.
Councillor Parnaby added: "Regeneration is a constant process and has seen this council invest in major assets, including Bridlington Spa, Sewerby Hall and Gardens and the new East Riding Leisure Bridlington development among others. "As I have said before, an economically vibrant Bridlington is not only important to the town and its residents but also for the wider East Riding. "To further demonstrate its commitment, the council plans to progress with other projects in Bridlington, including the new Gypsey Race Park, the Townscape Heritage Project to preserve buildings in the Bridlington Quay Conservation Area, improvements to the seafront north of Garrison Square and the completion of the BridITP2 works, which will improve the town's transport infrastructure and open up areas for private development – creating jobs, boosting the economy and supporting residents and the increased number of visitors."