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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Coast to become surfers' paradise
Surfer riding a wave
Boscombe could become an attraction for surfers
A stretch of Dorset coastline is set to become a surfers' paradise after Europe's first artificial surf reef was given the go ahead by councillors.

The 800,000 reef will be built off the coast of Boscombe, Bournemouth.

It is the first stage of an 8m seafront scheme to be approved, with plans also in place for a spa village.

The reef's approval ends years of speculation, during which time world experts carried out feasibility studies and local residents were consulted.

Pier shortened

Member of the cabinet, Councillor Rob Copeland, said: "I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to approve the surf reef and give the go-ahead for the planning application on the rest of the scheme to be submitted.

"We are delivering what extensive public consultation has told us that people want and the economic benefits to the local area have been made very clear to us."

If approved, the rest of the seafront scheme would see the removal of amusements and the land-train garage to make way for the spa village.

The entrance building to Boscombe Pier - which was given listed status by the government in December 2004 causing plans for the scheme to be redrawn - would also be restored and the pier shortened for safety reasons.

Eighty-two unused beach bungalows would also be converted into 42 "super chalets" for hire and lease.

Planners back 8m pier makeover
18 Apr 04 |  Hampshire/Dorset
Reef backers move to allay fears
27 Nov 02 |  England

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