FLOOD defence work to protect the west Dorset coast is underway.

The final phase of the West Bay Coastal Defence Improvements Scheme was due to start this week.

The works, lasting 16 weeks in total, will include improvements to the River Brit riverbank and will provide protection to West Bay and Parkdean Resorts' West Bay Holiday Park.

Flood protection works have already been carried out on East and West Beach – this was completed in October 2019.

The budget for the project at £1.5 million.

There will be public right of way diversions of Monarchs Way which runs through the Holiday Park, parallel to the riverbank.

Dorset Highways has placed public notices at the appropriate intersections advising of the diversion.

Works to improve the riverbank are being managed and contracted by a partnership including Dorset Council, the Environment Agency, Parkdean Resorts UK, Dorset Coast Forum and Jacobs Consultants.

Dorset Coast Forum invited residents and businesses to meet with project engineers at informal drop-in engagement sessions during September to find out more about what type of improvements works are being done and how they will be carried out.

The works were due to start on Monday, November 30 and have a targeted completion date of February 2021.

Dorset Council has access to the site from the starting date and Parkdean Resorts is removing equipment from the work areas in preparation.

Both the tenant and landholder are collaborating to meet a tight construction window in order to cause as little disruption and impact to West Bay and the Parkdean Resorts holiday parks as possible.

Over a period of 16 weeks, Dorset Council and its contractors will be driving in a sheet pile flood defence wall along the line of the existing bank.

The riverbank will be re-profiled to improve its integrity, as well as installing additional protection for the riverbank where required.

Access will also be improved for the Environment Agency and Dorset Council operations and maintenance teams to structures that need frequent monitoring and maintenance.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and Environment, said: “The Dorset Council Cabinet decision on 30 June 2020 was to commence the last phase of the West Bay Coastal Defence Scheme; the Parkdean Riverbank Improvement Works, this winter. Dorset Council engineers have worked hard to gain the remaining consent approvals, procure designers and contractors and finalised the construction package in the last 4-5 months”.

Further information about the Parkdean Riverbank improvement works can be found at www.dorsetcoast.com/projects/west-bay-coastal-defence-improvements/