Campaigners are celebrating after a two-year battle to see a beach in West Dorset re-designated as safe for bathing.

Church Cliff Beach in Lyme Regis has been re-designated as a bathing beach following a two-year campaign from local campaigners and groups.

The River Lim Action group has been working with the Lyme Regis Bluetits swimming group, the Lyme Regis Town Council, as well as local businesses and residents. 

This comes after the beach, along with 26 others in the country, were put under a public consultation by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, ahead of the bathing water season, which runs between Wednesday, May 15 and Monday, September 30.

Water quality at the beach will be monitored during the season by the Environment Agency.

Vicki Elcoate, of the River Lim Action group, said: “This is excellent news after a lot of effort by the local community, who got right behind the campaign.

“It’s a lever to secure better water quality and the pressure is now on South West Water and the Environment Agency to find a solution to our pollution problems. It won’t happen overnight but it’s so much better than having a beach where people swim that isn’t monitored.

Bev Glock of the Lyme Regis Bluetits said: We are super excited to hear that Church Beach has been re-designated.  The Swimmers and local Lyme people have put so much effort into achieving this.

"It’s a huge step forward to help prevent us all swimming in poo.”

Malcolm Greenslade of Lyme Bay Swimming said: “The swimming community here in Lyme Regis is delighted to hear DEFRA have approved the application to re-designate Church Beach as a bathing site.

“It really is great for the town as a year-round resort and it’s what we deserve. Thanks to all the campaigners who have worked so hard to get this through.”

The status of the beach changed in 2016 following concerns from Lyme Regis Town Council regarding the water quality. 

The government will also launch a consultation later this year on proposals to reform the Bathing Water Regulations for England.

The proposed changes are designed to improve bathing water quality, enhance monitoring and enable more flexibility around the dates of the bathing water monitoring season.