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  1. ITV Report

Scheme to protect hundreds of homes in Lyme Regis

The giant engineering project is believed to the be largest sea-defence project in England Photo: ITV News

Work to protect hundreds of homes in Lyme Regis from sliding into the sea is nearing completion. The 20 million pound project to stabilise cliffs on the eastern side of the town started last summer.

The land above is also being pinned in place to stop it slipping down towards the sea.

For centuries, gravity has been pushing it down, trying to fill gaps at the bottom caused by erosion. Each winter brings an increased risk to the 500 or so homes that are built on the eastern side of Lyme Regis.

The town has got used to diggers and machinery on the sea front Credit: ITV News

This is the fourth phase of a project that began in the mid 1990s. Phase 2 beefed up the beach and pinned land in the centre of town in place in Langmoor and Lister Gardens. Phase 3 planned for the western side of town, has never started. Phase 2 was completed in 2007.

The engineering team is pleased that it seems to be working as planned.

"The sea wall is built in front of an old sea wall that was built during the 1950s and 60s and was so dilapidated it was in danger of failing. If the sea wall fails, the main road in to town, the Charmouth Road is about 25 metres at the top of the slope and that land would be lost so we would lose housing and the main road into the town."

– Nick Browning, Head of Engineering, West Dorset District Council

Much of the work will be finished by the summer holidays and the tidying up will follow by the end of the year.

Duncan Sleightholme reports:-