A SIGH of relief has greeted the return of the team charged with building Europe’s first artificial surf reef in Boscombe.

Officers had previously admitted they had a contingency plan in place in case the ASR team did not return to Bournemouth to finish the complicated marine project.

But this is no longer needed as the team is currently back in the resort and is working off-site preparing the webbing and setting up equipment.

It’s now all down to the weather as to when they can get back in the water. If next week brings the appropriate wind, wave and tide conditions then work can recommence straight away.

It’s hoped the project will be completed by September.

It’s a welcome piece of good news for project managers, who have been blasted for the way in which the scheme has ended up overdue and millions of pounds over budget.

The surf reef itself was originally expected to cost £1.359 million but will end up costing £3.03 million, while the entire Boscombe Spa Village project has gone up in price from £8.291 million to £11 million.

Cllr Beverley Dunlop, cabinet member for economy and tourism, said: “The team is back, the equipment is here, the sand is ready. All we need is some good weather and the right sea conditions.

“I am looking forward to seeing the team back in the water to complete our long awaited surf reef.

“Boscombe seafront is already coming alive and with the completion of the surf reef it will really turn Boscombe and Bournemouth into a water sports destination enjoyed by everyone.”

Work is also progressing well on the refurbishment of the Overstrand building. This will be home to a restaurant and café called Urban Reef and a Sorted surf shop and surf school, which are due to open next month.

The retro beach huts designed by HemingwayDesign are also due to go on sale next month.