Contract awarded for Lyme’s �20million seafront works

Dean and Dyball Civil Engineering will undertake work to save hundreds of homes on the town’s eastern flank

Work on a �20million project to prevent hundreds of homes from sliding into the sea at Lyme Regis took a major step forward today (Thursday).

West Dorset District Council has just announced the appointment of contractors Dean and Dyball Civil Engineering to undertake Phase Four of the town’s on-going environmental improvements scheme.

The company will complete the detailed design and also construct the final major phase of work to protect the resort’s eastern flank.

This will include building 390 metres of new sea wall and carrying out extensive slope stabilisation measures at Church Cliff and East Cliff.

This will protect:

* Around 480 homes from destruction, damage or loss of access.

Most Read

* Some 900 metres of Charmouth Road and Church Street from landslips caused by coastal erosion

* Utility pipes and cables that would otherwise be destroyed by ground movement

Defra funding of �14.6m was secured in March when the Environment Agency approved the scheme. West Dorset District Council has agreed to contribute �600,000 and Dorset County Council will also contribute funding of up to �4.27m.

Robert Gould, Leader of West Dorset District Council, said: “We have been working hard for Lyme Regis and it is great news that we have appointed a contractor for the next stage of our coastal protection works.

“Lyme Regis is on an actively eroding stretch of coast and faces huge challenges from coastal erosion and consequent land slips, which is why this work is so important. The scheme will protect the eastern side of Lyme Regis. Without it, substantial areas of housing and the main road into the town would be lost over the next 50 years. We look forward to working with Dean and Dyball Civil Engineering to protect the town’s future.”

Preliminary work at the site, including ecological surveys, ground investigations and treatment of Japanese Knotweed, has already begun. However, it is expected that the major construction work will begin next spring and last for about two years. The district council says it will work closely with the town council, emergency services, residents, local businesses and the contractor to minimise disruption.

Much of the site is within the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.

Officials say the scheme has been designed to keep environmental impacts to a minimum. As far as practical the invasive plant species growing at present on the coastal slopes will be removed and the natural vegetation and habitat restored.

The Lyme Regis Coast Protection Scheme, devised in the early 1990s, provides long-term coast protection through a major programme of engineering works. Earlier phases saw the construction of sea walls and promenades. Beaches were also replenished and slope stabilisation works carried out. Improved sewage treatment was provided in partnership with South West Water and Cobb Road was stabilised and improved by working with Dorset County Council.