Dorset

Damaged Boscombe surf reef needs work before reopening

The artificial surf reef off Boscombe, Dorset
Image caption The £3.2m underwater reef has been closed off due to safety concerns

Work must be carried out to the damaged artificial surf reef off the Dorset coast at Boscombe before it can reopen.

The £3.2m underwater reef has been closed off due to safety concerns after a recent six-month inspection found "substantial changes" to its shape.

ASR Ltd, commissioned by Bournemouth Borough Council to build the reef, confirmed it had been damaged.

One of 55 giant sand-filled bags that make up the reef's structure will be removed as soon as possible.

Bournemouth Borough Council is advising people not to use the reef while it undergoes the maintenance.

It has said it is "erring on the side of caution".

The reef opened in November 2009 after lengthy delays and running over budget, as part of the regeneration of Boscombe seafront.

It was created to enhance waves using 55 giant sand-filled bags which are 740ft (225m) out at sea.

It has been criticised for not working properly but many traders have argued it has added to the regeneration of the once-rundown area.

Image caption The reef opened in November 2009 as part of the regeneration of Boscombe seafront

The council has withheld £150,000 from New Zealand-based ASR Ltd after a specialist report found the reef had not achieved all of its objectives.

It will pay £55,000 when refinement work is finished and a further £95,000 if the improvements are successful.

ASR Ltd has denied the reef failed and said it was only one of the criteria, the wave lengths, where it had not met the requirements.

The impact of the surf reef on the local economy is being assessed by Bournemouth University as part of a three-year study, as requested by the Crown Estate which owns the UK seabed.

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