A new welcome hub has finally been unveiled.

New benches, designed by artist Michael Pinksy, have been installed at West Bay. It is hoped the hub will be an attractive space for everyone to enjoy in the centre of West Bay, although the design of the benches has divided public opinion.

The benches have been designed to reflect the curves and shapes of the local land and seascape and aim to provide plenty of space for people to sit and enjoy local food with a view.

The West Bay Welcome Hub project is part of the Dorset Coastal Connections portfolio of 18 projects along the Dorset Coast which aim to support and boost the economies of Dorset’s coastal areas. The portfolio is funded by a grant from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund and partner organisations and co-ordinated by Dorset Coast Forum.

The open space in the centre allows for uninterrupted views across the harbour and river, according to the Dorset Coast Forum. In the middle, a bronze plaque made locally by Bridport Foundry has been installed, featuring points of the compass and signposting to locations in West Bay.

The benches also provide a backdrop to showcase the many motorbikes which regularly gather at West Bay. Bikers are encouraged to park around the outside of the benches, keeping the inner circle free for visitors and residents to sit, relax and eat away from the traffic.

Sally King, project lead from the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Jurassic Coast Trust, said: “The final stage before we could open the site has been to lay the resin-bound outer surface, and hope for dry-ish weather to allow it to set. This has been a real challenge but thankfully the site is now open for everyone to enjoy over the festive period and for many years to come. We hope everyone will enjoy using this space in the heart of West Bay.”