LYME Regis Town Council has refused a request for a financial contribution towards the recent harbour dredging and beach replenishment works.
Dorset Council requested that the town council make a contribution of £15,000 towards the work, which was carried out at Lyme Regis harbour and beach in the spring.
The total cost of the annual works this year was £150,000 and Dorset Council has secured a grant from the Environment Agency totalling £300,000 for five years, but they said a contribution of £15,000 from the town council would “greatly assist with the considerable costs we have incurred this year”.
The harbour dredging and beach replenishment works were held in spring after being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. This resulted in some sections of the beach being cordoned off during one of the hottest weeks of the year, pushing beach-goers together in the height of social distancing concerns.
Former town and district councillor George Symonds, who owns Lyme Regis Amusement Arcade on the seafront, asked for assurance that the annual works would not be held in spring again as it had affected trade.
In their request for funding, Dorset Council’s project engineer Robert Clarke said: “I hope you agree that in terms of volume, etc. the beach is looking very healthy and has proved to be as popular as ever this year.
“It was unfortunate that the works took place during the extremely good weather we had earlier in the year. COVID-19 led us to delaying the works until such time it was deemed safe.
“Monitoring data shows that without the beach management, the sand beach will gradually decline over time so it’s imperative we carry our the annual works whenever possible.”
The request for funding came after the town council contributed £4,000 to the works in 2018. However, considering its current strained financial position due to the effects of COVID-19, councillors refused the request for £15,000.