BCP COUNCIL have been busy during the lockdown period, making use of the quieter period by frontloading a lot of their planned improvements for the next couple of years on Bournemouth seafront.

With summer just around the corner and the easing of lockdown restrictions enticing visitors to the South Coast, we paid a visit to the beachfront to see how the council’s projects are coming along.

Poole Bay Beach Management Scheme

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Probably the council’s biggest project, major work got underway in October 2020 to replace timber groynes to the west of Bournemouth and replenish sections of Bournemouth’s beaches with sand.

As part of the scheme, a number of important works have recently been taking place to make the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole coastline more climate resilient.

A spokesman from BCP Council said: “From October 2020 to March 2021 coastal management works to replace timber groynes from the Poole/ Bournemouth boundary to Middle Chine were completed on time.

“These works saw the removal of five life-expired groynes and the installation of four more evenly spaced new ones. A high and wide beach is the coastline’s primary flood defence which is then supported by groynes to slow down the natural process of beach material moving eastwards along Poole Bay.

During the works, contractors discovered an unexploded bomb which was made safe by the ‘bomb squad’.

A lost wedding ring was also retrieved which was reunited with the owner following a successful social media campaign, which saw local residents sharing the council’s post on Facebook over 1,000 times.

Bournemouth Echo:

The ring’s owner had lost it five years earlier and was delighted to be reunited with it.

The spokesman added: “The next phase of timber groyne renewals is planned to start in October 2021 from east of Middle Chine to West Cliff zig-zag. Three old groynes will be replaced with four more evenly spaced ones.

“Further works carried out as part of the Poole Bay Beach Management Scheme, have seen seven depleted beach areas from Southbourne to Poole renourished with sand and beach material.

“Running from February 2021 and completed on time and on budget before Easter, a total of 350,000 cubic metres of material was pumped ashore from dredgers and placed at seven strategic locations around the bay taking in both Poole and Bournemouth.

“The next renourishment campaign is due to take place in 2025.”

Pop up restaurants and cafes

The council’s newest – and arguably most contentious – initiative will see pop up restaurant and huts being erected along the seafront.

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Having been initial discussed at a full council meeting on Tuesday April 20, two new licenses were approved, with one near the Tofts zig zag and the other in the East Cliff.

However, the committee have met again to consider extensions to those already in place.

A BCP Council, spokesperson said: “Aiming to enhance the existing seafront offering, BCP Council is considering licensing approval which will allow for more pop-restaurants to be hosted at a number of additional locations this summer. 

“If approved any future licencing agreements will require adherence to national guidelines and regulations. Our main priority will be to ensure the area remains a welcoming, responsible, and attractive environment for residents and visitors alike.

“A formal decision notice is expected within the next few weeks.’’

Durley Environmental Innovation Hub

Bournemouth Echo:

Work has begun on the creation of a new visitor attraction dedicated to achieving a step-change in the reduction of waste and elimination of single use packaging along the seafront.

Funded with £2.4 million from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund, the hub aims to educate residents and visitors on the environmental impact off packaging, waste and climate change on our coasts and seas.

Work was initially expected to take around nine months, with a completion date during summer 2021 in time for the new academic term, however the ongoing pandemic has meant that the new centre will not be ready until next year.

A council spokesperson said: “Demolition, ground clearance and piling work to create a stable foundation for the Durley Innovation Hub building have been completed. Work to install utilities and finish the sub structure will continue through May.  

“Delays earlier in the year due to working while adhering to COVID-19 restrictions, together with the need to stop during the busy peak season, mean that work will restart in September with a planned completion in Spring 2022.”

Canford Cliffs stabilisation

Bournemouth Echo:

In February 2017, a length of cliff approximately 10 metres wide by 0.5 metres deep eroded and slid half-way down the cliff face at Canford Cliffs.

Following an adjacent cliff slip in December 2019, the council began putting together a new cliff stabilisation scheme for 2020and 2021.

Work to stabilise and retain the cliff will cost in the region of £2.5 million and will be carried out by specialist contractor CAN Geotechnical.

Soil nails up to 15 metres in length have been drilled into the cliff face using long reach excavators from the cliff top and the promenade below.

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The soil nails will cover an approximate area of 5,500 metres squared a d are covered with a structural mesh and erosion protection matting.

Expected to be completed this summer, the council say they still on schedule.

A BCOP Council spokesman said: “This programme of stabilisation works commenced in September 2020 to address the 2017 landslip that took place below Cliff Drive, Poole

“It has been anticipated that works would take up to nine months and completed in spring / summer 2021.

“Currently on schedule, however this remains subject to weather conditions and government guidelines.”