ANGRY hoteliers have forced a rethink over the night-time dumping of thousands of tons of rocks to protect Scarborough's coastline.

They complained that the noise was keeping guests awake and that they were losing business when people cancelled bookings.

Now, Scarborough Borough Council officials have negotiated with contractors carrying out the £26m scheme to protect Marine Drive and 250-year-old East Pier from the ravages of the North Sea, with the result that night working is to be scaled down.

Councillor Godfrey Allanson, cabinet member for the environment, said there would be a halt on the delivery and handling of rocks between 11pm and 7am.

The rocks are being shipped from Norway to build a rock armour wall to break up the waves which were threatening the stability of Marine Drive and the pier.

Coun Allanson said: "We have been able to modify the working arrangements and we hope this gives a clear message that people coming to Scarboorugh have no need to fear any potential noise problems at night."

Scarborough Hotels Association president Martin Smith said: "We have always accepted that the coast protection scheme is vital for Scarborough and that some disruption is inevitable. The noise complaints were a cause for concern, but I am pleased that an agreement has now been reached."

The scheme is likely to take nearly two years to complete.