Council beach works in Lyme Regis will drive visitors away – according to local hoteliers.

They have appealed for the work to be better planned to avoid the tourist season – after the main beach was shut for several days in May and June in previous years.

The traders now fear a repeat of the process this year.

Said Kathyrn Haskins, director of the Alexandra Hotel and restaurant: “Why does Dorset Council find it necessary to re-profile Lyme Regis’ main beach during what we all hope will be a busy tourist period.

"The beach was closed for days on end in June last year whilst re-profiling and dredging was undertaken, the dredging saw sand being pumped by huge machinery for weeks on end and making the beach very uninviting for all. This wasn’t an unprecedented occurrence as the year before this was done over the main May Bank holiday period causing the beach to be closed over the bank holiday in that year.

“This has been brought up with your officers and their response is that they will try and avoid Bank Holidays when the beach profiling is undertaken but that it is sometimes unavoidable. But I would ask why is it unavoidable? Surely with forward planning this could be avoided?"

She added: “On the hotel and self-catering accommodation side of things the impact is huge and businesses struggling to survive it is highly important that extra obstacles are avoided at all costs.

"The repercussions on us as operators are great with guests avoiding visiting or requesting discounts due to the feeling they have been unable to enjoy their holiday as planned. For those operating on Marine Parade this must also have a drastic impact on footfall and thus revenues.”

A similar question to Thursday evening’s Dorset Council meeting was asked by Ben Matthews, managing director of Lyme Bay Holidays.

Environment portfolio holder for Dorset Council, Cllr Ray Bryan, says that the beach re-profiling works are organised so that at least some of the area can remain open at all times.

He told councillors that weather and tidal conditions and the availability of contractors meant it was often difficult to arrange the works when the council would like it done – despite planning well in advance.

“Technical issues and weather conditions may disrupt schedules, but our intention is always to avoid holiday periods where possible. Last year’s schedule was impacted heavily by Covid resulting in the works being done much later than normal,” said Cllr Bryan.