A DECISION for controversial railings to remain in place at Weymouth Harbour has been met with disappointment by town councillors - with one branding them 'dangerous' and voicing concerns that there had not been talks before the announcement.

The barriers were originally installed as a temporary safety measure at Custom House Quay for the summer season after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advised the authority to ensure people were protected from falling in the harbour.

READ MOREControversial Weymouth Harbour railings to remain in place permanently

However, Dorset Council is now proposing keeping the railings in place.

Melcombe Regis councillor Tia Roos said: "I think myself and much of Weymouth Town Council are disappointed that Dorset Council haven’t tried to engage with us to discuss their proposals before asking the public for feedback via an email.

"It doesn’t feel like a proper consultation. I feel the railings are not good enough - and are not aesthetic or practical.

"In an area heavily struck by poverty it’s embarrassing to see measures that stop people from doing something that was more affordable than now having to sit in restaurants.

"It’s still dangerous and people have been hanging off the railings and sitting on the harbour side of the railings."

Luke Wakeling, Weymouth Town Council deputy leader, added: "We're disappointed with the announcement on the railings."

Dorset Council said the railings were implemented as a safety measure in preparation for increased visitor numbers over the summer, partly due to the pandemic.

Since the barriers were installed, there has been two incidents of members of the public in the harbour water.

On April 16 this year, three people fell into the harbour from Custom House Quay, while on June 26 two women self-rescued after jumping into the harbour from Cove Row.

Over the summer, council officers have reviewed their effectiveness and advise that they should be retained permanently to maintain safety in this area of the harbour, complementing the public realm improvements being made to Custom House Quay.

Dorset Echo: Weymouth Harbour, in Custom House Quay from Weymouth Town Bridge. Pic: Sam McKeownWeymouth Harbour, in Custom House Quay from Weymouth Town Bridge. Pic: Sam McKeown

Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: "We believe the safety railings installed on Custom House Quay in April this year may have helped to save lives by preventing people from falling into the harbour and drowning this summer, as has very sadly happened in recent years.

"We installed the railings on the advice of the Health and Safety Executive and we maintain this was the right thing to do.

"I’m well aware that there was opposition to the railings when they were installed earlier this year.

"However, they have proved their worth over recent months keeping visitors safe and those who earn their living within the harbour able to carry out their work, the current railings have weathered-in now, and they meet the needs of a busy working harbour and its users.

"I have to make some really difficult decisions and ensure we spend taxpayer money as efficiently as possible.

"It's my view that the current railings work well, and it would not be cost effective to replace them with alternative barriers which would cost more and require ongoing maintenance."

Weymouth Town Council is now urging residents, businesses and people working at the harbour to share their views by October 31 via: dorsethighwaysbsu@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk.