CLIFFTOP homes are threatened by instability of the coast, according to a new report.

John Riby, head of engineering for Scarborough Borough Council, said in the report due to be discussed at a meeting tomorrow that marine erosion, groundwater conditions and steep slopes could cause problems near Scalby Beck.

He said that some initial appraisal work has been carried out to produce a scheme to be sent to Defra, the Government's department for the environment and rural affairs, but had to win the backing of the ministry. "As a result, further and more detailed studies and investigations have been made and they are now completed," said Mr Riby.

"Furthermore, property values in the area have increased significantly warranting a revised economic analysis."

Mr Riby said consultants were now needed to provide an interpretation of the data collected on the site to minimise the risk to clifftop properties.

Between £60,000 and £70,000 had been estimated for the work, but a tender of £56,700 has now been received from Halcrow Ltd.

The work is part of a multi-million scheme to upgrade the cliffs and sea defences on the Scarborough coastline, much of it being triggered by the collapse of the four-star Holbeck Hall Hotel into the sea more than a decade ago.

Work is expected to be completed by next spring on a £33m scheme to build a new seawall and defences at the Marine Drive and the 250-year-old East Pier, both of which have suffered as a result of North Sea storms.