RESIDENTS are being asked to give their views on plans to improve Highcliffe's popular zig-zag path.

Plans are being drafted to rebuild and reopen the path leading from Highcliffe Castle to the beach after it was closed in March due to safety concerns.

Residents, visitors to Highcliffe Castle and beach users are being invited to view draft plans and share their ideas for the overall look and feel of the project.

Project co-ordinator Natalie Poulter said: "This is a huge engineering project, which involves a substantial amount of specialist design work for the rebuild, including ensuring disabled access. However, for those who visit the site, it’s important that the look and feel is right for the location and suits those who use it, so we’d like to talk to local residents, visitors and beach users about this aspect of the project."

Dorset Coast Forum will be hosting two engagement sessions to share the draft plans with residents and visitors in July.

Each session is a drop in, taking place at Highcliffe Castle on July 13 and Greystones Community Centre on July 15.

Feedback gained from the two sessions will be fed into the design process, making sure that the final plans offer a design which reflects the needs of beach users as well as looking great and fitting in with the landscape, including its human and geological heritage.

The project benefits from being part of Dorset Coastal Connections, a £5.6 million portfolio of projects along Dorset’s coastline, which has allocated £280,000 towards the reconstruction of the path. In addition, Christchurch Borough Council has set aside funds of £350,000 towards the remaining cost of the rebuild.

The project is subject to the usual planning process and is due to be completed and the path reopened to the public in time for Easter 2018.