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West Bay Dorset can manage their beach!

  • by JW

Improvements and enlargements at West Bay:

The small holiday resort of West Bay along the Dorset Coast has needed a lot of protection from the seas over the years:


West Bay, also known as Bridport Harbour, is a small harbour settlement and resort on the English Channel coast in Dorset, England, sited at the mouth of the River Brit approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of Bridport. The area is part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. The harbour at West Bay is not a natural landscape feature and it has a long history of having been silted up, blocked by shingle and damaged by storms, and each time repairs, improvements and enlargements have subsequently been made.

West Bay, Dorset | Wikipedia


Some fifteen years ago, more such improvements were made:


Construction of sea defences, West Bay

Construction of sea defences, West Bay
Work being carried out on West Beach.
© Copyright Maurice D Budden and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Construction of sea defences, West Bay © Maurice D Budden cc-by-sa …


Further, considerable improvements and enlargements are now being undertaken:


The Environment Agency and West Dorset District Council have partnered up to work on new multi-million pound sea defences at West Bay, Bridport, West Dorset.

The beach defences protect 148 residential properties, 112 commercial properties and caravans at Parkdean Holiday Park. Waves over-topping the Esplanade at West Beach caused significant flooding of properties and utilities in 2014. Each winter, stormy seas damage East Beach. To address this, a more robust defence against flooding and risk of breaching is needed.

West Dorset District Council, the Environment Agency and other key agencies have worked closely together and with the public through several local consultations facilitated by Dorset Coast Forum. We aimed to come up with the best scheme to provide defences for the whole of West Bay.

£5m of the funding is being provided by central government under the DEFRA Flood Defence Grant-in-Aid. WDDC is providing £3m. £1m has been granted from Local Levy by the Wessex Regional Flood Defence Committee.

West Bay is internationally important for its World Heritage Site (Jurassic Coast)… We have taken great care in working  closely with the conservation and heritage organisations. These include Natural England, Jurassic Coast Team, Historic England, the Marine Management Organisation as well as Dorset County Council. We’ve obtained all the necessary permissions to ensure the works are carried out safely and with minimum disruption. The local community, wildlife and the environment are our priority throughout these works.

5 things you need to know about the upcoming sea defence work at West Bay


The question being, of course, why Sidmouth has not received similar treatment…

.Here are a few more details from the West Bay project for comparison.


The position of Natural England and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site:

Here is the link to the scheme plans

West Bay Coastal Defence Improvements – Dorset Coast Forum

Click on the items in the blue boxes to see the plans. The rocks buried under East Beach are interesting…

The Planning Application WD/D/18/002112 can be found here:

Note that whilst Natural England ‘objects’, the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site agreed to the proposals:

“balance the needs of local communities, the economy and the environment, to secure a sustainable and affordable approach to the threat while protecting natural interests”

It would be very very interesting to see what NE’s and the WHS team’s objections were and how they were overcome…


Project life-cycle:

The link below indicates that inception of the current West Bay scheme was in 2014 or shortly afterwards.

In which case they (West Dorset District Council and the Environment Agency)  took 5 years or less to process their scheme from inception to start of construction.

Compare EDDC’s 8 years since inception (when, in 2011, the Cliff Road Action Group’s planning application for rock revetment was replaced by EDDC’s own plans) to where they are now – without a final design and grant aid approval. Although it can be argued that it is actually 17 or 18 years, since they first recognised the problem and began the plans to take action.  The cost so far in East Devon has been estimated at somewhere between £1 million and £2 million.

West Bay Coastal Defence Improvements