Seafront traders blast ‘idiot’ council bosses for closing beach during 30C heatwave


Seafront traders blast ‘idiot’ council bosses for closing beach during 30C heatwave to do dredging works

  • ‘Idiot’ council bosses have been blasted for closing a popular beach in Dorset
  • Diggers are doing dredging works all this week during the heatwave
  • The beach is closed to tourists and locals say the works are impacting tourism

‘Idiot’ council bosses have been blasted for closing a popular Dorset beach during the middle of the heatwave. 

Traders in Lyme Regis are furious that officials are carrying out dredging works while Britain bakes under 30C sunshine.

Normally in June, the sandy beach would be teeming with tourists and families enjoying a day by the sea.

But instead, the seafront is empty of sunbathers – and dredging diggers have brought up a ‘black gunge.’

Local business owners suffering after two years of Covid lockdowns have called the timing ‘ridiculous’ and likened the closure to ‘shutting a florist on Valentine’s Day.’

Audrey Bellacott, of The Beach House Cafe, said: ‘We think it’s extremely badly timed and it’s affecting every business along the sea front.

‘The gunge they are bringing out of the harbour is black and horrible.

An aerial shot shows diggers doing dredging work on Lyme Regis beach in Dorset

An aerial shot shows diggers doing dredging work on Lyme Regis beach in Dorset

Dorset Council has closed Lyme Regis beach this week to allow dredging

Dorset Council has closed Lyme Regis beach this week to allow dredging

The dredging work at Lyme Regis has brought forth a horrible black gunge

The dredging work at Lyme Regis has brought forth a horrible black gunge

‘I don’t know why they have chosen to do it in the middle of June. People aren’t bringing their kids because there’s nowhere for them to play.

‘It’s absolutely ridiculous, what the council were thinking about god only knows. We’ve been here since 1998 and I’ve never seen them do it in June before.’

Caz Retter, 39, a manager at the Cobb Arms, said: ‘The timing is poor – it is the hottest week of the year and we can’t even get on our beach.

‘We were not even aware of it before the work started – if they’d have communicated with local businesses it would have been better.

‘People should have been given a chance to prepare.

‘If we’d have been given notice we would have reduced our business hours and our produce for the week.’

One tourist said: ‘Closing your beach in the middle of a heatwave is like a florist closing their shop on Valentine’s Day.’

The seafront at Lyme Regis now stands empty of tourists during the heatwave

The seafront at Lyme Regis now stands empty of tourists during the heatwave

Local traders say the beach closure will hurt them in their pockets

Local traders say the beach closure will hurt them in their pockets

Dredging work is carried out at Lyme Regis every year to remove excess silt and ensure the navigable channels in the harbour are maintained.

The work is usually carried out in the spring, but has been delayed several times this year.

A spokesman for Dorset Council said there were problems in obtaining licences for the work from the marine agency and the dredging was then postponed to avoid interrupting the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

They said: ‘Dorset Council is carrying out the annual dredging works in the harbour and we plan to re-open the majority of the sand beach this Friday ahead of the weekend.

‘All other beaches in Lyme Regis will remain open during the works, including the pebble section of Front Beach, Monmouth Beach, Church Cliff Beach and East Beach.

‘Obviously we cannot predict when a heatwave will occur, but we had already revised our scheduled works at Lyme Regis to avoid disrupting the local Queen’s Jubilee celebrations during half term.

‘Timing of the harbour dredging is dependent on the availability of the contractor, but we try to carry out the works as late as possible as this gives us a better weather window.

‘This lowers the risk of works being delayed, which can lead to people being inconvenienced for longer and the Council incurring time-related costs.’

MailOnline has contacted the council for further comment. 

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