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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007, 18:07 GMT
Approval for artificial surf reef
Boscombe Pier
The planned surf reef could bring thousands of surfers to the area
Construction of a 1.4m artificial surf reef off the Dorset coast, the first in Europe, is to start in Spring 2008.

The date was announced after Bournemouth Borough Council received permission from the Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA).

"Christmas has come early to Bournemouth," said Roger Brown, head of the council's leisure services.

The reef which will be ready by October 2008 is expected to attract up to 10,000 surfers a year.

Sand-filled geotextile bags will be submerged east of Boscombe pier to create waves up to 13ft (3.96m) high and increase the number of surfing days.

8m regeneration

Plans for the reef stalled in July after fishermen expressed concern about fish stocks and the environmental effects on the area.

The MFA said all environmental concerns were considered.

"Bournemouth council was required to supply additional information to support its application before decisions could be reached," said Nigel Gooding, MFA chief executive.

"All the issues have been resolved and the licence will be issued shortly."

The reef is part of an 8m surfing-themed regeneration project for the Boscombe Spa Village scheme.

It will also see a restaurant with panoramic sea views created along the seafront and a Mediterranean style piazza and open air events space in front of the pier.

The council funded the project mainly through selling a seafront car park to be redeveloped into 169 apartments.

SEE ALSO
Fishermen delay surf reef plans
20 Jul 07 |  Dorset

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