Reopening an access route to a beach in Weymouth that was cut off for more than four years is set to go ahead following a decision by civic officers.

An application by the Friends of Castle Cove Beach Charity to rebuild the timber steps at Castle Cove Beach has been approved by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council under delegated powers by officers.

As previously reported, Castle Cove Beach near Sandsfoot was cut off to visitors in 2013 following a landslip.

As a result, the 15m (49ft) access slope and steps were closed due to safety concerns. The surface had become uneven and steps down to the beach were considered unsafe and removed in 2016.

Consequently, the beach was blocked off to visitors, although there is access from further down the coast at low tide. Following years of campaigning by the friends, Dorset County Council then made repairs to the access slope in December 2017 and the path reopened with restricted access.

A planning application by the charity was then made to rebuild the wooden steps in January to allow safer access to the beach.

These steps would replace the former timber steps. At the moment there is just a muddy slope which the Friends of Castle Cove say can be dangerous to use.

Commenting on the approval of the application to rebuild the new steps, case officer Jo Riley at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “The proposal to replace existing steps which would allow future access to a recreational facility of Castle Cove beach is welcomed and is acceptable.”

Alongside this, the Friends have also applied to Dorset County Council to get the access route recognised as an official public right of way with an application currently being supported by 79 people.

A Dorset County Council spokesman said that the route is not currently recognised as an official right-of-way but Dorset County Council has launched a consultation on the proposals which closes on May 4.

They added: “An order had been made to make the steps into a footpath.

“If no representations or objections are duly made, or if any so made are withdrawn, the Dorset County Council, instead of submitting the Order to the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs may itself confirm the Order.”

Construction on the steps is expected to start after the Friends raise £25,000 and agree a lease for the land.