TWO members of the group that requested an independent report on Bournemouth’s controversial surf reef have accused council bosses of ignoring safety warnings.

This week the Daily Echo revealed that the survey highlighted several high risk areas on the £3 million structure, particularly the chance that surfers and swimmers could get trapped between its sand-filled bags, breaking a limb or even drowning.

Now the report is out in the open, two members of the Surf Reef Task and Finish Group have publicly voiced their concerns.

One, Cllr Basil Ratcliffe, said: “The specialists pointed out the high risk of a surfer being thrown on to the top of the reef by a strong wave and having a leg caught where the gap finishes. They were of the opinion that this could result in a broken leg, or even drowning.

“I am concerned that if an accident did occur as a result of our failure to take appropriate action, when a high risk feature had been brought to our attention with regard to our reef, this would have the most serious consequences for the council.”

Cllr Michael Everingham said he stood by a statement he made earlier this week, in which he said he was “most concerned at the way the health and safety issues have been swept under the carpet”.

However, Cllr Ben Grower, chairman of the group, said he had no immediate safety concerns.

The council’s cabinet is due to make the final decision on whether to release £77,500 of retained funds to builders ASR to complete refinement work to improve the reef’s performance.

The authority said that the RNLI deemed it safe and was providing year-round, council-funded lifeguards.

Tony Williams, executive director for environment and economy, said: “Far from dismissing the report, the council has responded to every risk highlighted in it, removing the strips, patch, debris and webbing.

“The one outstanding action relating to the re-inflation of the bags, is being discussed with ASR as part of the refinement works.”

ASR said the gaps were part of the reef’s design and were safe.

Reef is safe

One diver has challenged the survey’s findings.

Graham Savill contacted the Daily Echo to say he had dived the reef on “countless occasions”

He said: “During these dives we regularly looked in all the gaps in search of wildlife. There is no way someone could be trapped in any of the holes.

“They are not big or deep enough and I would challenge anyone to prove that it was even remotely possible. This is health and safety gone mad.”

Mr Savill believed the reef would become a big attraction for divers, with “thriving” wildlife visible through the gullies between the sandbags.