STRUCTURAL and surface repairs to the historic Cobb in Lyme Regis could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The Grade I-listed structure, which was originally built in the medieval period, bore the brunt of the winter storms that battered Lyme Regis and authorities have now begun extensive repairs.
Due to its listed status, West Dorset District Council and experts from English Heritage have been working together on the repair work and monitoring the structural elements of the sea walls for further damage.
Initial estimates put the cost of the repair work at £100,000.
However, West Dorset District Council has warned more significant costs could arise if the monitoring shows further damage. Nick Browning, head of engineering projects at the district council, said: “The district council is carrying out repairs to the Cobb at Lyme Regis after it suffered some significant surface damage due to the recent storms.
“The structure itself appears to have survived with little serious damage, but we are continuing to monitor it.
“The Cobb is Grade I-listed meaning that repairs to the structures have to be carried out in a manner which preserves the historic value. The district council is working closely with English Heritage to ensure that this is achieved.
“Some minor repairs have already been carried out, and we are currently working on robust long-term repairs to storm damaged areas, which may take several weeks to complete. In the longer term, major strengthening and renovation works are planned as part of phase five of the Lyme Regis Environmental Improvement Scheme.”
The most obvious damage to the Cobb has been the erosion of the surface, which resulted in gaping potholes on the wall and in the harbour itself.
Winds up to 80mph, torrential rain and huge waves pummelled Lyme Regis from December to February, with the weather described by many locals as the worst they had ever seen. A spokesman for English Heritage said: “English Heritage has been providing specialist advice for some years to West Dorset District Council who are responsible for managing the Cobb.
“We have visited to assess the damage after the most recent storms and advised that the necessary repairs should be specified by a specialist.
“The appointment of the right consultant and suitable contractors are matters for the council.”