Heritage Coast bid - COMMENT ON THIS STORY

A BID to extend North Yorkshire's Heritage Coast to Filey and beyond will be recommended to senior Scarborough councillors next week.

The prestigious designation currently extends from Saltburn to Scalby Mills, while there is another stretch of protected coast from Bempton Cliffs to Flamborough.

One of the key features of the FIley coast is its unique geological importance, as well as its obvious natural beauty.

Joining up the two sections could have major benefits for conservation and tourism – and add pressure to create a continuous coastal footpath along the length of Filey Bay.

At the moment, clifftop walkers are forced to make two detours – one in the Speeton area and again at Primrose Valley, where the owners of The Bay holiday village blocked off an existing path.

Scarborough Council's head of regeneration and planning Pauline Elliott said the status helped in attracting external funding and would be complementary to the existing shoreline management plan.

Earlier bids to extend the designation provoked fears from landowners who believed it could lead to more rigorous planning constraints or falls in the value of their land or property.

But Mrs Elliott said Heritage Coast status would not change the existing land use policy framework and protection would rely on existing enviornmental protection designations.

The scheme is now administered by Natural England, following the amalgamation of the Countryside Agency, Defra and English Nature.

She said: "The beauty of the borough's coastline is one of its greatest assets. Any tourism publicity should also be used as an opportunity increase people's enjoyment, appreciation, understanding and concern for the Heritage Coast."

When the proposal was discussed by the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Coastal Forum last year, it was welcomed by then Filey mayor Cllr Marion Wright and Cllr Aileen Newbury, chairman of the Filey Bay Initiative.

It is now believed a forthcoming review of National Landscape Policy by Natural England represents a "window of opportunity" for designating the Holbeck to Speeton area as Heritage Coast.

If agreed at next week's meeting of Scarborough Council's cabinet, an application could be submitted to Natural England next month.