FEARS have been raised over the integrity of the surf reef after it was revealed that it is not ‘clear cut’ that a boat strike caused a bag to collapse.

Bournemouth Council is making an insurance claim for bag C4, the 70-metre long bag on top of the reef that was discovered to be empty and partly detached in March.

Rod Cooper, cabinet member for tourism, told a full council meeting on Tuesday: “We are currently in dialogue with our insurance company as to whether we can claim the repair money.

“But we are not sure what the outcome will be as the cause of the damage to this container is not clear cut.”

The collapsed bag was found by a council-commissioned inspection of the reef carried out in March.

Divers said there was evidence C4’s seams may have failed. At that point, the inspection report made no mention of any boat propeller damage to the reef.

Cllr Anne Rey, leader of the independent group, said: “How do we know this is not going to happen again?

“I would be very concerned about that and I think more investigation needs to happen. “We have to have proof.”

Cllr Cooper said another insurance claim for boat damage to bag C5, had paid out £100,000, and another £95,000 was expected ‘in the next few days’.

Tony Williams, the council’s executive director responsible for the reef, said: “The damage issues are not to do with concerns over the build and therefore the integrity of the reef remains. “We have always said we believe the reef was hit by a boat and that there is evidence of this. “Our insurance claim is based on both being hit by a boat.

“Ongoing discussions are being held with the insurance company.”

ASR told the Echo earlier this year that it was ‘absolutely not’ possible that bag C4 may have split apart.

A spokesman said: “A survey of Boscombe Reef conducted by ASR, Bournemouth Council, manufacturers of the geotextile containers, and independent dive team C&S have confirmed the reported damage was caused by boat strike.”

The damage to the top of the reef is separate to the remedial work needed on the seaward face to improve its wave.