Talks are close to a conclusion to fund a £1.5m scheme to protect the River Brit embankment at West Bay.

The owners of a holiday site are likely to pay for the work in exchange for a lease extension and other alterations to their agreement on the Dorset Council land.

Exact details of the deal are not being made public and will remain in confidential papers seen only by councillors and council officers.

Agreement for the arrangement is expected to be approved at next week’s Dorset Council cabinet meeting and, if it gets the go ahead, work could start in October this year, finishing by Easter 2021.

Part of the recommendation to the meeting includes instructing officer to complete an extension to the site operator of the Campfield Holiday Park until January 2074 on terms described in a confidential paper. The site is run by Parkdean Resorts, with both the camp site and nearby properties in Forty Foot Way at risk of flooding. The works should reduce the risk of flooding to the area to a one in two hundred year event.  If nothing is done flooding could be expected almost every year.

A council study concluded that in 2018 the risk of flooding in the area was 1 in 50 years, but that would increase to 1 in 20 by 2023 and 1 in 1 by 2038.

Parkdean have been the council’s tenant on the site for more than half a century. A report says that the estimated costs of the riverbank works are £1.5m with the project being specified, tendered and managed directly by the council. As soon as the works are completed Parkdean will have to pay the council an additional, undisclosed, sum for its lease.

The report says that other funding methods were considered – including selling the site, which officers did not recommend.

A West Bay Coastal Improvements Business Case report concluded that: “The structural integrity of the Parkdean embankment along the River Brit is low, with damage to the toe causing localised slip failures in several locations. Breaching of this embankment would lead to widespread flooding of the caravan park and backdoor flooding of properties in the town. Without the improvements a 1 in 200 year event is currently predicted to flood much of the Campfield site to a depth of 1 metre.”