THE future of Boscombe Surf Reef has been left in limbo after the council admitted remedial work will not be finished in 2011.

Contractor ASR will not be able to lay new sandbags to improve the wave before the autumn weather turns too bad.

The council is now negotiating with the firm to finish repairs on a second, damaged part of the reef, before its team leave. It is not yet clear if ASR will return next year and the council was not able to confirm that fear.

Tony Williams, the council’s executive director for environment and economic services, said in a statement: “Given that autumn is firmly upon us, we are now back in discussions with ASR on what work can realistically be undertaken before the weather deteriorates further.

“We have to accept that only repair work can now take place this side of winter and our priority is ensuring the reef is as structurally sound as possible and is in the best position to withstand winter weather.”

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Sue Levell, said: “ASR haven’t delivered what they were supposed to deliver. At some point, you are going to have to say enough is enough.”

ASR returned this year after a Plymouth University expert said the reef was only hitting four out of 11 performance targets.

The company previously said the original plan was for its work to be done in the “spring/summer” but its staff did not arrive until August, partly because the council “had to finalise payment”.

Under the original contract, ASR was only supposed to get the final £150,000 of its payment if the reef was working properly.

But the council agreed to use the money to fund ASR’s return without leaving any in reserve.

Bournemouth council could not yesterday comment on what had happened to the £150,000.

Labour group leader Cllr Ben Grower said: “Hopefully ASR won’t be paid a penny. The council should tell ASR to go away, put its hands up and apologise to the people of Bournemouth and say ‘We are sorry we wasted £3million of your money, we are going to demolish it because it’s dangerous’.”

The original construction work in 2008 also had to be stopped for the winter as it ran out of time.

Cllr Anne Rey, leader of the council’s Independent group, said: “It’s not been properly managed from the start. There have been loads of problems.

“I feel the residents of the town don’t want to be paying any more money into this.”

ASR was also hoping to replace a sandbag that collapsed in the spring after a reported boat strike. That led to the reef’s closure on the safety grounds and it appears to be the focus of work in the remaining time.

Mark Cribb, of Urban Reef, said: “I’m fairly relaxed and pragmatic about it all. It was an innovative catalyst for regeneration and has been incredibly successful at helping transform Boscombe seafront.”

ASR could not be contacted.