LESSONS will be learned – that was the message to Weymouth residents following weeks of severe storms and subsequent road closures.
Scores of people from the Preston area attended an open event to share their concerns and find out more about sea defence repairs.
Part of the beach has been closed while emergency repair work is carried out.
It comes after weeks of unprecedented rainfall, gale force winds and strong tides which battered the Dorset coastline.
Several flood warnings were issued for the Preston Beach area and Preston Beach Road was closed a number of times between Christmas Eve and February 14 The Dorset Coast Forum organised the event at The Spyglass Inn to provide an opportunity for those living in the area to speak to local experts.
Representatives from the Environment Agency, Weymouth and Portland borough council, local geologists, sea defence engineers and emergency planners attended.
Maps, images and advice leaflets were available with people also invited to give their views on flood warning systems in the area.
Bridget Betts, of Dorset Coast Forum, said: “It was important to hear about the events from the people who experienced it.
“Lessons will be learned – you can’t control the weather and we want to be able to have a system in place for the future where everything goes as smoothly as possible.
“We were really interested to get feedback on how the road closures affected residents as well as beach management.”
She added: “Many people were concerned about the beach closure and wanted to know more about what repairs are going on there.”
Nick Reed, Environment agency flood resilience officer, shared information at the session about how flood alerts are calculated and what takes place before one is issued.
He said: “There is quite a bit to learn from this session and it is important to hear what residents have to say about the current local system.”
Many attended the session to ask about their concerns for the weakened sea defences along Preston Beach. Resident Geoff Greenstreet said: “The Beach Road was closed and flooded and it is the first time I’ve known this since the new promenade was built.”
He added: “We really wanted to see what impact this weather has had on the beach.
“They’ve put boulders on the beach to strengthen the sea defence and we’ve seen many changes to it over the past 40-years.”
Chris Dursley said: “The beach is being eroded away and the underpinning of the wall and if that goes it will all go. I just wanted to find out more about what they were doing down 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.
Another similar event will soon be held in Chiswell, Portland.
For further information about the event, please contact the Dorset Coast Forum on 01305 224833.