AUTHORITIES are stepping in to remove a dilapidated former boat deck at Castle Cove Beach, Weymouth, due to safety fears.

As reported, strong winds ripped fencing, rusty metal and large timber planks from the structure last week - scattering debris across the sand and into the sea.

A warning was issued for walkers and swimmers to avoid the area, and coastguards were alerted to the risk - while an online petition calling for the deck to be removed quickly gained support.

Dorset Echo: The boat deck 'erupted' during a recent storm Picture: Steve ElsworthThe boat deck 'erupted' during a recent storm Picture: Steve Elsworth

Dorset Council and Portland Harbour Authority have now revealed plans for work to remove it to begin at the end of the month - with a plan being put in place to protect the marine environment.

There has been ongoing controversy surrounding the structure, which was bought by new owners who started carrying out work to turn it into a sunbathing platform - before the building site was shut down by the Health and Safety Executive amid a raft of concerns.

The decision for it to be removed has been welcomed by local councillor Clare Sutton.

Cllr Sutton said: “This has been of great concern to local residents and I am delighted that the relevant parties are working together so swiftly and professionally to resolve this.

"A huge amount of work has been going on both on the ground and behind the scenes since the havoc wreaked on Thursday night, and it seems an end is now in sight.”

Dorset Echo:

The structure once belonged to Castle Cove Sailing Club but fell into a state of decay after the club moved premises to Sandsfoot Beach in 2002.

It was bought by business partners from London last year, who revealed plans to bring it back into public use.

Initially welcomed by locals, serious concerns were later raised about construction practices, and the site was shut down by officials.

Stephen Harper, the registered owner, said the boat deck belongs to him "on paper only," and that he and his former business partner are no longer on speaking terms.

He said: "I was very upset when the wind ripped all the wood and everything off (last week) - I was down there helping out helping a couple of lads during the morning. The barriers around (the deck) were blown away - we were told by the council we had to put them up, so they're to blame for that.

"It's nothing to do with me - I'm the owner on paper only. Me and (former business partner) Henrietta are no longer together - I don't know where she is now."

Dorset Echo: Large timbers were blown onto the beach and out to seaLarge timbers were blown onto the beach and out to sea

David Kitcatt, Dorset Council's service manager for Building Control, said: “The Harbour Authority, Dorset Council’s Building Control and a marine contractor held a site meeting (last week) to discuss emergency works and removal plans, with estimated start date towards the end of the month.

"The Harbour Authority is checking ownership/lease issues, discussing respective legal powers and cost-sharing with Dorset Council, and liaising with the marine contractor and Natural England on various practicalities, including protecting the seagrass and ensuring damage to the beach is minimised."