Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Artificial surf reef faces delay

Laying the surf reef
A barge is being used to lay the reef off the Bournemouth coast

Work on Europe's first artificial surf reef off the Dorset coast has been delayed - meaning it may not be finished this year, the BBC has learnt.

Bournemouth Borough Council had signed a deal with New Zealand-based ASR Ltd to construct the reef by 31 December.

But a spokeswoman for the council admitted that the target date had now slipped due to the workload but there was no risk it would not be completed.

The 2.68m structure off Boscombe is part of a 9.5m area redevelopment.

Talks are taking place and work on the reef, which will double the size of the waves, is continuing.

In a statement, the council spokeswoman said: "Construction of the reef relies on periods of good weather with calm seas.

"Everyone appreciates that there has been bad weather this summer and autumn.

"While everyone has been working on site at every opportunity and continues to do so, the contractor ASR Ltd, has now advised us that it may be difficult for them to complete construction this year."

The council spokeswoman was unable to confirm a report that the reef might not be in operation until Easter next year.

The reef site is 225m (740ft) out to sea, east of Boscombe Pier and covers the size of a football pitch.

Originally, it had been hoped it would be completed by the end of this month.

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An artist's impression shows how the surf reef will be made up of 55 sand-filled bags

First part of reef put on barge
06 Aug 08 |  Dorset
Cost of surf reef doubles
04 Jul 08 |  England

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