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28 October 2014

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Dorset's Jurassic Coast

You are in: Dorset > Nature > Dorset's Jurassic Coast > Preserving the coast

The East Cliff will be protected

The East Cliff will be protected

Preserving the coast

What was described as 'the worst landslip to strike Lyme Regis for 100 years' occured on a stretch of coast which was due for coastal protection work, as part of a larger project. BBC Dorset looks at the project.

Phase IV of a £21m coastal protection scheme to save Lyme Regis from slipping into the sea is being considered by planners.

The beach under the East Cliff

The beach under the East Cliff

In February 2008 the latest phase of the £21m project to protect Lyme Regis from falling into the sea was unveiled. A new sea wall under the East Cliff is planned at a cost of £4m.

But on the evening of May 6 2008 the East Cliff started rumbling and tonnes of debris slid onto the beach below.

No homes were lost and no-one was injured but the landslip vividly illustrates how fragile this area of coast is. The proposed work would protect up to 170 homes, a football pitch, the historic St Michael's Church and Charmouth Road, the main route out of the town.

Lyme Regis has always been prey to landslips. Layers of soft blue lias clay lie over harder limestone which traps rainwater and makes the land unstable.

The protection work will help to pin the cliffs to the harder rock below.

Nick Browning, West Dorset District Council

Nick Browning, West Dorset District Coun

Speaking in March 2008, Nick Browning from West Dorset District Council said, "There's an immediate risk over the next few years to housing, roads and other infrastructure so we've got to try to find the right balance to protect the coastline."

The first phase of the scheme to the western side of the town was completed in 1996. Phases II and III were finished in 2007. The work there had to be undertaken quickly because several properties near the Cobb were destroyed by falling rocks.

Residents were invited to an exhibition at the town's Marine Theatre to give their views about the latest set of plans. Graeme Coleman who runs a gift shop in the town said, "It's a missed opportunity to solve several problems in one fell swoop. A new car park on the beach would protect the cliff and solve the town's chronic parking problems." 

The Planning Committee at West Dorset District Council will consider the plans in the spring. If approved an application will be made to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs  DEFRA for funding. 

last updated: 07/05/2008 at 12:24
created: 13/02/2008

Have Your Say

Is enough being done to protect our coastline? Have your say.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

steve leak
I feel the coast should be managed, so that only certain times of the year fossil collectors can collect because this will help to stop man-made erosion of the ciffs and help to prevent undermining of the cliff

i think that it is good that the coast is being looke after.

D Lambourne
Will the new works make it easier or harder for people to access the beach and walk along the coast?How sensitive will those undertaking the work be, as they are bound to make some sort of fossil find if digging into or around the cliffs/beach area?Will protecting Lyme affect other coastal areas in the vicinity by removing a supply of beach materials?

You are in: Dorset > Nature > Dorset's Jurassic Coast > Preserving the coast

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