COUNCIL chiefs have a new harbour wall problem to deal with after severe weather damaged the Stone Pier in Weymouth.

The landmark pier has taken a battering from huge waves and violent winds.

Such has been the force of nature’s rage that railings have been mangled and the walkway surface has been shattered exposing the concrete. The staircase to the beach also took a pounding and has since been recovered to the top.

The pier was closed off at the weekend but has reopened again although affected areas have been fenced off. The state of the harbour walls is a major concern for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, which has had to put millions aside for repair works after years of nothing being done.

This time last year the race was on to replace the crumbling ferry berth. More than 4km of harbour walls have been surveyed to help the council draw up a priority list of repair and maintenance works.

Environment spokesman for the borough council Ian Roebuck said: “The borough council is currently investigating the extent of structural damage to the Stone Pier following the severe weather.

“The pier had been closed to the public over the weekend as a precaution while initial investigations took place, but it has now partially re-opened and the area affected has been cordoned off.

“We ask the public follow the warning signs and do not enter the cordon for their own safety while further work takes place.”

On a wing and prayer

LET’S talk turkey – a pretty big one in fact, which is presumed to have gone on the run after losing its home in the fierce storms.

The plucky bird, discovered running around a garden at Sutton Poyntz, has been taken under the wing of village blacksmith Simon Grant-Jones.

He is now looking to reunite the turkey with its rightful owner.

Mr Grant-Jones thinks the turkey – which weighs about 8kg – must have escaped when its pen was damaged in the storms at the weekend.

A friend who lives at the top of Plaisters Lane alerted him to the escapee in her garden on Sunday morning.

Another turkey was discovered dead nearby – possibly the victim of a fox attack.

Mr Grant-Jones, of Puddledock Lane, said: “My neighbour called me about it as I keep chickens and would have somewhere to put it.

“One of the turkeys was dead but the other was very much alive running around the garden. It was quite a job to catch it – they’re quite good flyers and it ended up in a tree. I got it down with a shepherd’s crook.”

He added: “I’ve made a few inquiries but no-one knows about it.

“It may have escaped in the storms but it may have been on the run since Christmas.

“It’s quite a feisty bird and has already had a go at me.

“If no-one comes forward I’ll be stuck with it. I don’t want to kill it as it might be someone’s pet.”

If you own the turkey call the Echo Newsdesk on 01305 830999.

Learn more about defence scheme

Residents living near Preston Beach Road are invited to come along to a drop-in session to give their views on recent storm events and find out more about the Preston Sea Defence scheme.

The event takes place at the Spyglass Pub, Overcombe, on Wednesday, February 26, from 4pm to 7pm, and is hosted by the Dorset Coast Forum. The Environment Agency, emergency planners, Weymouth and Portland borough council engineers and local geologists will be present to answer any questions and speak to local people who have been affected by road and beach closures. People can also give their views on flood warning systems in the area.

Neil Watson, coastal engineer for the Environment Agency, said: “We understand this can be a daunting time for the community and all agencies involved will be on hand to answer any questions in an honest and open manner.

“We want to encourage as many people from the Preston Beach area to come along to the meeting and speak to us about concerns they may have, and find out more about the Preston Sea Defence scheme.

“We look forward to seeing you there.”

The Dorset Coast Forum (DCF) is an independent strategic multi-sector partnership working with stakeholders to promote a sustainable approach to the planning, management, use of and development of the Dorset coast and its inshore waters, from Lyme Regis to Christchurch.

For further details call the Dorset Coast Forum on 01305 224833.

Broken clock a sign of times

A WEYMOUTH landmark is behind the times.

The Jubilee Clock on the seafront is the latest victim of the storms after severe weather affected the mechanism, so the clock is now more than three hours behind, pictured right.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is aware of the problem and says a repair team will be out to fix it when the weather improves.

The seafront has taken a pounding from the weather and has been issued with severe flood warnings in the past fortnight due to the risks of waves overtopping the promenade.

Council spokesman for finance and assets Peter Chapman said: “We would like to thank everyone for their patience while the Jubilee Clock has been out of action.

“We believe the recent severe weather has caused the fault and are waiting for a specialist repair team to come and fix the clock as soon as possible.”

The clock was erected in 1887 to mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign. It was originally sited nearer the beach.

£1k for appeal

KIND-HEARTED readers have pledged more than £1,000 to the Dorset Echo’s Storm Aid campaign.

Cheques and cash donations have been handed in to help people hit by floods and the ongoing bad weather.

The Dorset Echo is working with local Rotary clubs so the money goes directly to where it is needed most.

Areas in Dorset and neighbouring counties have been left devastated. Homes, businesses and farms have been destroyed and donations will go towards helping residents pick up the pieces.

Marjorie Churches, vice president of the Moonfleet 2000 Indoor Bowls Club based at The Marsh sports field in Weymouth, raised more than £100.

She said she had seen how flooding had affected communities in Dorset, especially on Portland, and just wanted to do what she could to help.

The money was collected from more than 50 people at a Valentine’s meal at the bowls club.

Mrs Churches, who lives in Weymouth, added: “I saw the appeal in the Echo and wondered how I could help. I then thought of the donation idea and raised £112.

“People may have only given one or two pounds but the point is that every little helps.”

Anyone who wants to donate should make cheques payable to Rotary International, District 1200 Charity Account and send to Flood Appeal, Dorset Echo, Fleet House, Hampshire Road, Weymouth DT4 9XD.

Donations can also be dropped off at the Echo offices on the Granby Industrial Estate in Weymouth, the offices at Antelope Walk in Dorchester or the Bridport News office in East Street, Bridport.