Dorset

Boscombe £3.2m surf reef repairs to continue after boat damage

The artificial surf reef off Boscombe, Dorset
Image caption ASR Ltd, the firm which built the reef, will carry out the work 'at the next available weather opportunity'.

Repair work to the artificial surf reef off Dorset will continue, according to the council.

The £3.2m underwater reef at Boscombe has been closed since March after two giant sandbags were damaged by a boat.

ASR Ltd, the firm which built the reef, returned in August to carry out repairs and improvements, but plans were delayed due to bad weather.

Bournemouth Borough Council said the team will be on site "at the next available weather opportunity".

The council believes the damage was caused by a boat propeller and one of the sandbags was completely emptied.

As a result, an inspection revealed there had been changes to the reef's shape.

Nick Behunin, managing director of New Zealand-based ASR Ltd, said; "Given that autumn is now firmly upon us it is our priority to focus immediate works to prepare the reef for winter weather."

Over budget

The council added that further improvement works to the reef will continue in the spring.

It had previously been withholding £150,000 from ASR Ltd, but confirmed this money is now being used to pay for the repair and improvement works.

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

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

It has been criticised for not working properly and a specialist report found the reef had not achieved all of its objectives.

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.

Many traders have argued the reef has added to the regeneration of the once-rundown area.

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