Beach matting at West Bay is set to expand, offering more people the chance to enjoy the seaside.

The wheelchair-friendly matting was first put in place in August 2022 to make access to the beach easier. 

Spearheading the campaign was Elaine Leader, who approached Bridport Town Council for funding. It agreed to fund the project at a cost of £3,500 at the time. 

The matting has proven popular since, and Elaine has approached the town council again for further funding so the matting can be doubled in size and include more turning circles. 

At a meeting of the full council, a figure of £4,500 was put to councillors for more matting. Cllr Julian Jones said the town council had been generous in the past and questioned why it was being asked for more money. Cllr Kelvin Clayton, who offered 'strong support' for the scheme, also asked where the figure came from, i.e. what was the basis for the scheme needing to be doubled. 

READ: West Bay beach access improved with wheelchair carrier

Cllrs Ian Bark and Sarah Carney said the scheme was of huge importance to those who use it. 

Cllr Bark said: "You see a raft of people enjoying the beach because of this. Those who use wheelchairs, people with walking difficulties and people with buggies. 

"That enjoyment can't be bought. It's special for everyone to enjoy."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Enjoying the beach  Picture: Sara Phillips

"This is a life-changing thing to happen for people coming to West Bay," said Cllr Carney. "West Bay would be incomplete without it."

Councillors decided to fund matting up to a cost of £4,000, however, after the meeting, Bridport Town Council liaised with the company providing the matting and was able to secure the expansion for the same cost as before - £3,500.  

Speaking afterwards, a delighted Elaine said: "The feedback I've had since the initial matting has been incredible. When you walk past and see people on the beach below enjoying the seaside it's so emotional.

READ: Finally, our dream has come true

"Lots of people were using it over the summer so we'd really like to expand it so even more people can enjoy it. The town council has been so supportive and I'm really pleased we've been able to get more funding. This makes such a difference, you wouldn't believe."

Elaine is determined to go even further, and would like to buy a storage facility for the beach wheelchair scheme.

While some local businesses have been generous so far, Elaine is hoping to raise £20k and is hoping the public and other businesses can get behind her. 

To donate, visit.