THE LATEST phase to improve sea defences in Lyme Regis has been completed.

The fourth phase, costing £19.5m, has focused on protecting homes, roads and infrastructure on the eastern side of the town from coastal erosion and landslips.

The newly constructed sea wall will be officially opened next week on Church Walk Cliff.

Cllr Peter Shorland, chairman of West District Council said: “The Lyme Regis coastal protection scheme was initiated by the council in the early 1990s. 

"In the past 100 years, Lyme has experienced loss and damage to properties, landslip and erosion of the foreshore and breaches to its sea defences. 

“The excellent work carried out by all those involved so far has put a stop to this situation and will protect this beautiful town in the future.”

Along with Cllr Shorland, Alan Lovell, former chairman of Wessex Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) will host the ceremony on Tuesday (16) and invited guests will include Cllr Owen Lovell, Mayor of Lyme Regis, local councillors, designers and engineers, and main contractor Balfour Beatty who’ve played an integral part in the project build. 

The works have secured around 390 metres of coastline between Church Cliff and East Cliff for the next 50 years, up to 480 homes have been saved from damage or loss of access and major utility pipes and cables that would otherwise be destroyed by ground movement have also been protected. 

Neil Watson, coastal engineer for the Environment Agency said: “The Lyme Regis Phase IV East Cliff scheme is one of the largest and most complex coast protection and slope stabilisation projects attempted in England for many years.

“It demonstrates the benefits of working in partnership in addressing planning, complex geotechnical, environmental, community and financial challenges of the site to provide an exemplar that will be followed by the industry for decades to come.”

West Dorset District Council has led the scheme with main contractor Balfour Beatty carrying out the works, which started in April 2013. 

Defra funding of £14.6million was secured in March 2012 when the Environment Agency approved the scheme. West Dorset District Council has contributed £600,000 to the works and Dorset County Council has paid around £4.27million.