Esplanade closed after landslide fears

Large overhanging rocks appear ready to fall, warn experts

The western end of the Esplanade at West Bay has been closed due to concerns about continuing land stability in the area following the exceptional wet weather.

The district council and its partners, including the Dorset County Council and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, have been monitoring the situation on a daily basis and have taken the closure decision to safeguard public safety.

This affects only the final, western 70 meters of the pedestrian section of the Esplanade, well beyond the section open to private vehicles. It does not affect any area of public vehicular access, parking or turning.

The council will continue to monitor the area and open the Esplanade when it is safe to do so.

Inspections have found:

• Large overhanging rocks at the top of the cliff at the western end of West Bay Esplanade appear ready to fall. Some of these have already broken free and are perched on other overhanging rocks.

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• There is a large amount of fresh rock fall debris on the sloping section of the cliff. Some of this looks unstable.

• At the western end of the Esplanade, particularly when it is raining, inspections frequently find rocks up to 600mm long on the walkway.

• Slurry has overflowed onto the walkway. Marks in the slurry show that rocks have rolled or slid across the Esplanade into the sea.

• Water is coming from the cliff face in the vicinity of the overhang.

District council Leader Robert Gould said: “This decision has not been taken lightly. We have been carefully monitoring the situation and public safety is our over-riding priority in these circumstances.

“We will continue to keep a close eye on this situation and re-open the western end of the Esplanade when it is safe to do so.

“In the meantime I would appeal to everyone to not try and access the area and follow the warning signs in this area and anywhere else across the coastline.”

Signs have also been erected at Eype warning that the beach between Eype and West Bay is blocked by a landslide.