CAMPAIGNERS trying to secure access to Weymouth’s Castle Cove Beach are hoping to form a community group.

Clare Sutton, from the local Green Party, chaired a public meeting to discuss the way forward for those hoping to restore access to the beach.

She said there are still a number of people interested in searching for a solution, even if it appeared that the council was not going to support them.

Clare said: “We have come away with a group of people who are going to take this forward. I think the short-term future is to form a ‘Friends of’ group.”

Ms Sutton had previously organised a petition to restore access to the beach, which was signed by more than 1,700 people.

Despite this, councillors agreed last month at a special council meeting to take no further action to restore access to the beach.

The council was told it would be liable if anyone had an accident on the path and it had to do everything in its power to discourage people, which is why it then removed the steps.

Cllr Ian Roebuck said that engineers and the Environment Agency had looked at the future of the north-west shore of Portland Harbour and estimated that it would cost around a million pounds to address the instability, which was caused by groundwater.

With less than a third of the funding available from government, the council had spent a year looking for alternative funding but had not had any success.

Cllr Roebuck added: “Even if the steps were restored the path would remain too dangerous for public use.

“New steps are not a solution to the problem. Following the last wet winter there is now a threat to properties in Old Castle Road and to the main Portland gas supply under the Rodwell Trail.

“Both of these are higher priorities for the Environment Agency.”