DORSET Council has responded to accusations that flood defence work has caused lasting damage to Weymouth Beach.

Last November sand was moved from the Pavilion end of the beach and placed underneath shingle at Greenhill as part of the Beach Management Plan.

But, as bulldozers returned to the beach this week, concerns have been raised that the work has caused more harm than good, and will now require ongoing maintenance to prevent more of the beach being washed away.

Weymouth resident Richard Horlock said: "Shingle had been compacted for over 80 years - during excavations it was possible to see the bases of wartime wire defences.

"(Dorset Council) replaced this shingle with sand and placed the loose shingle in a bank in front.

"Needless to say the first high tide removed this and the sand, resulting in undermining the steps and promenade. Some sections of the beach have all but been destroyed."

Days later, Mr Horlock said the bulldozers had returned and could be seen pushing back the shingle.

"This shingle is a lot finer than the shingle that was washed away; it is also now mixed with sand which will allow the waves to push it away much faster," he said.

"Reinstating this now loose beach will be a constant expense which has never previously been required."

Dorset Council said the project cost 'under £10,000' and was cost-effective.

A spokesman said: “The promenade near Greenhill Gardens was found to have an increased risk of undermining. We considered a number of options for a temporary fix to last five – ten years before a long-term solution could be engineered.

“Recycling beach material, even on an annual basis, was cheaper than a concrete repair. The cost is under £10,000.

“We consider the works a success because without them the promenade would have been exposed for a lot longer over winter. "We have seen the gradual loss of the material and we now need to carry out a smaller profiling exercise using just the bulldozer for half a day to build the level up again.

"If we feel it necessary to repeat the exercise before next winter, we might alter the method slightly to better resist the benching / cliffing that occurred.

"Beach recycling is also a more environmentally friendly solution.”