WORK to restore the East Cliff lift following a landslip more than two years ago has been delayed indefinitely with Bournemouth council admitting it has "no funding" available.

The head of operation for the authority's tourism service, Chris Saunders, said that its aim of carrying out repairs by 2019 had been made "perhaps naively".

Stabilisation of the cliff following the 2016 landslip is predicted to cost the council "well into seven figures" and, with the damage not covered by insurance, no money is available for the work.

The funicular, steps and a toilet and cafe block were destroyed when tonnes of rubble cascaded down the cliffs early in the morning on April 24.

Since then the lift has been removed from its rails and the area cordoned off.

Several studies have been carried out to determine the work the council will need to complete to return the lift to working order.

Despite this, Mr Saunders has admitted that there are no plans in place to start any work at the site.

Responding to a query from a member of the public, he said: "When the cliff slip first happened in April 2016 we were hopeful, perhaps naively, that reinstatement could happen ready for the start of the 2019 season.

"As things currently stand, that will not happen and I am unable to give to give a future target date."

While he said that reinstatement of the lift would be a relatively simple task, costly work to stabilise the cliff would need to take place beforehand.

"The primary issue is the cost," he said. "Stabilisation will be well into seven figures, isn’t covered by insurance and there is no funding currently available for this work.

"We are trying to build a business case which uplifts the revenue enabling us to borrow the money needed for stabilisation but are currently unable to build a case that is anywhere near robust enough."

The council has previously said that the work would cost about £5 million.

He added that the council would also need to carry out extensive consultation with Natural England to resolve any issues surrounding the cliff being a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Mr Saunders said that the the freehold of the land being owned by the Gervis Meyrick Estate rather than the authority, "makes matters more complicated".