THE main sandy beach in Lyme Regis will be closed or access will be restricted while essential harbour dredging and beach replenishment works take place this week.
Dorset Council is carrying out the essential annual dredging works in the harbour until Friday, June 24 and depositing the material on the sand beach.
This means the beach will be closed to the public completely from this week, with plans to re-open the majority of the area from the evening of Friday, June 17.
From Saturday, June 18, all access points to the beach will be open, except from the main ramp next to the groyne between the sand and pebble beaches.
The dredger will also be depositing material on the beach over the weekend but this will not restrict access and there will be no heavy plant operating.
The public are advised to stay well clear of the discharge pipeline as it could start discharging at any point.
From Monday, June 20, heavy plant will be on the beach moving dredge material to the northern corner of the beach so parts of the beach will be closed as the machinery moves around.
Banksmen will be present and barriers will be in place to advise the public of the restricted areas.
Providing the weather conditions remain good and the dredger makes good progress, the works are expected to be finished by Friday, June 24.
All other beaches in Lyme Regis remain open during the works, including the pebble section of Cobb Gate Beach, Monmouth Beach, Church Cliff Beach and East Beach.
The closure has resulted in some complaints from the public, who were keen to make the most of the beach during the current heatwave.
Many have questioned why the work could not be carried out earlier in the year.
The annual dredging work is dependent on tides, but it has been delayed by several weeks this year.
The work was initially due to start at the end of April, and then delayed until later in May, and then again to ensure it did not clash with the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in Lyme Regis.
Dorset Council put the initial delays down to problems in obtaining licences from the marine agency and in talks with Natural England.
Preparatory work had already started to ensure the dredging and beach replenishment in 2023 is started earlier in the year.