CLOSING both beaches at West Bay to allow sea defence work to take place would have a huge effect on businesses in the area, councillors say.

The Environment Agency is due to undertake coastal defence work, known as the West Bay Coastal Improvement (WBCI) scheme, to provide coastal flood protection to the resort.

The scheme – which involves flood defence works within West Bay, including West and East Beach, the Esplanade and Parkdean caravan park – is due to start in April.

Originally, work was scheduled between March and December 2019 with a two-month break during peak summer season, however, this was changed after an alternative source of rock was found which can be delivered more efficiently.

Amended plans, put forward by the Environment Agency earlier this month, show the timescale for the projecthas been dramatically

reduced to just three months – but both beaches will be closed simultaneously for two weeks during that time.

The new plans went before Bridport Town Council’s planning committee last week, when council leader, Cllr Sarah Williams, said she ‘has real concerns about shutting down both beaches.’

While councillors agreed work needs to be carried out, it was the simultaneous closure of both beaches which worried them most, along with work potentially taking place over Easter and the spring bank holiday.

Cllr Dave Rickard said: “This is the busiest weekend of the year for Bridport.

“It’s not going to be a quiet job.”

The council did not object to the plans but did request at least one beach remain open and accessible during both Easter week and the week of the May bank holiday.

Councillors also said they would prefer no work to take place on bank holidays, even where one beach remains closed.


If you'd like to learn more about the sea defence work due to take place at West Bay, a drop-in event for locals will take place next week.

The Environment Agency and West Dorset District Council have partnered up to work on the new multi-million pound sea defences at West Bay and will co-host the event.

At the consultation, you will be able to hear from the Environment Agency’s project manager, engineers from WDDC and contractors who will be constructing the works. There will also be representatives from the Dorset Coastal Connections team who can show you all projects happening in and around West Bay in 2019.

The drop-in event will take place at the Salthouse on Wednesday from 2-7pm.

For anyone unable to attend, information will be uploaded to the project website at dorsetcoast. com afterwards.