Planning starts for revamp of Swanage seafront

Work has begun to create a long term vision for the seafront from Swanage Pier to the stream at Ocean Bay in Swanage.

Prompted by the need to stabilise the cliff below Sandpit Field where the spa beach huts are sited and to address the flooding issues along the seafront, Swanage Town Council is working with the consultancy Dorset Coast Forum to draw up a masterplan for the area.

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Spa beach huts

The area around the spa beach huts is earmarked for improvement due to movement of the cliff

Develop investment plans

The seafront masterplan will help the town council, along with its partners to develop investment plans to improve the seafront, enhance and protect its heritage and the coastal environment.

It’s also intended to identify new commercial opportunities to meet visitor and resident needs.

The first step is to consult with residents, visitors and businesses to hear what they would like to see. A survey has been launched where people can express their opinions and there will also be face-to-face events organised by Dorset Coast Forum.

Shore Road

Some days are busier than others

“Understand how the seafront is being used and how it is valued”

Project officer for Dorset Coast Forum James Mitchell said:

“We are seeking views from the local community, visitors, and businesses to inform the process. It is crucial we understand how the seafront is being used and how it is valued, but also in what areas enhancements could be made.

“The seafront supports a wide range of activities and businesses, and the Blue Flag beach is an attraction for thousands of visitors each year. In addition, Swanage residents value the community feel of the town, beach and seafront.

“The masterplan will take all this into account. It will also address the installation of permanent flood defences, helping guide the design to be in keeping with the look and feel of the town and beach.”

Punch and Judy show on Swanage Beach

Traditional features include the Punch and Judy show

Beach huts

The modern concrete beach huts in Shore Road are a relatively new addition replacing old wooden beach huts

Timeline

The project, which will encompass community engagement, consultation on draft versions and launch of the masterplan, is expected to take a year to carry out.

  • Autumn 2022 – public survey and community engagement events take place
  • Early spring 2023 – draft masterplan created
  • Spring 2023 – public consultation on the draft masterplan
  • Mid to late 2023 – final document published
Debris on pavement

Debris is thrown by powerful waves onto the seafront by Gee Whites and the Stone Quay

Shore road covered with seafoam and debris
Swanage Coastguard

Flooding in Shore Road can happen at high tide whipped up by an easterly wind

Funding

The funding to carry out the plan is expected to come in part from Swanage Town Council’s ring fenced reserves for the stabilisation of the cliff, Environment Agency flood defence funding and possibly from Dorset Council for areas that it is responsible for, like the highway, if it’s decided that changes are wanted and justified.

The aim is to create a visionary plan that’s backed by the community which can be rolled out over several years with funding sought for each stage.

Swanage Carnival 2022
Gerald Dimarco

Events like the Swanage Carnival procession make the most of the seafront

Shore Road

The old bus station hardstanding occupies a prime location with potential

“Make your views known!”

Leading on the seafront strategy for Swanage Town Council is councillor Mike Bonfield. He said:

“It’s all about what people – locals, businesses and visitors – would like to see in the future for the seafront. It’s a long term plan so it all won’t happen in a year but we’re starting with finding out what people want.

“I really would urge everyone to fill in the survey as this is the chance to get in early to give us your ideas and make your views known!”

Further information

  • To get more information and complete the survey, go to the Swanage Seafront Masterplan website
  • A paper version of the survey is available at key locations in the town, including Swanage Information Centre in Shore Road
  • The next information event will be at a pop up stall on Friday 7th October 2022 at Swanage Market in the Main Beach car park.

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