CHRISTCHURCH council was left red-faced after another ramped access to the beach was forced to close due to damage.

The gradual sloped route at Friars Cliff was shut off after large chunks of the surface began to fall off in recent weeks.

While the council said work had been planned, the replacement is not expected to be installed until next year.

This revelation follows the prolonged closure of the large zig zag path at Highcliffe Castle, which is due to be repaired at last after being shut for more than a year.

The smaller ramp at Friars Cliff provides an accessible route from Southcliffe Road for beachgoers, who are unable to safely or confidently use the much steeper adjacent path.

Metal fences were in place at the top and bottom of the path.

Chunks of concrete were broken off from the exterior wall of the ramp, exposing the metal pins fixing the path in place.

Some of the wooden panels on the outside of the wall were missing and there was visible damage to both the remaining wooden supports and metal joints.

One passerby told the Daily Echo the path looked “terrible” and in an “unacceptable” state.

Gary Foyle, community and recreation team leader at Christchurch and East Dorset Councils, said: “The access ramp at Friars Cliff was closed three weeks ago as the structure of the path was deemed no longer safe.

The area has been fenced off to prevent members of the public from trying to access the ramp and also in order to help prevent further damage.

Christchurch Borough Council is currently in the process of organising replacement works for this ramp, the tender for which is due to be advertised next week.

“We are anticipating a replacement ramp to be installed in January 2019.”

The closure of the ramp at Friars Cliff means there is no gradual access route to the seafront between the Avon Beach Cafe and the Cliffhanger in Highcliffe.

Christchurch Borough Council committed a budget of £884,500 to fund the Highcliffe Castle zig zag work. The ramp at Friars Cliff is estimated to cost between £40,000 and £60,000 to replace and committee approval is not required.