PEDESTRIANS and cyclists could be banned from a 1,300m stretch of the seafront for eight weeks as repairs go ahead.
An order under the Road Traffic Regulations Act is being considered by Dorset County Council which would see the beach wall between Greenhill and Overcombe closed from November 5.
The council said it needs to make the order to comply with health and safety regulations to minimise the likelihood of danger as the Environment Agency carry out joint sealant replacement works and small slab repairs.
But ward councillor Ian Bruce said a closure is unnecessary He added: “This time of year is when everyone goes on The Esplanade.
“I just can't believe it, it's extraordinary that officers go and do this sort of thing without any thought on how it will affect the public.
“I’m gobsmacked. It's so amazing because they do beach work there all the time and they just fence it off.
“I don't see why the whole stretch would have to be completely closed.
“It would definitely be possible to do the work and not have the whole thing closed.”
Coun Bruce added that he had spoken to the officers involved who are now reconsidering their decision.
However, it is hoped the work will only take a month and should not affect any businesses because they are not on the route, an Environment Agency spokesman said.
He added: “Unfortunately if we allowed all members of the public to go on there we would have to put a really safe ramp down that would be suitable for different people and wheelchair users.
“We wouldn't be able to do that on such an uneven, shingly, beach surface.
“We would have a real safety problem.”
He added: “Fortunately, there is a right of way on the other side of the main road which has a good, suitable path which pedestrians and cyclists are able to use instead.
“There will be good signage and people can use the pedestrian crossings to get to the open side of the road safely.
“There will be no affect on the cafe or other buildings as these are not on the haulage route.”
A spokesman for Cafe Oasis, which is at the end of the closed route on Bowleaze Coveway, said he didn’t believe the closure would have any effect on their business.
Planned Alternative Route
THE alternative route which will be sign postered would be as follows: From the northern end of the closure at Overcombe, cross over Bowleaze Coverway and then Preston Road using the crossing points to the footpath/cycleway.
From here, proceed southwest-ward along the footpath/cycleway to the crossing point near Weymouth Sea Life Centre at Lodmoor car park.
From this point, cross over Preston Road to Greenhill and the southern end of the closure.
The reverse route applies.