TIMBER groynes and not rock groynes will be used to save Swanage beach.
Purbeck district councillors have backed plans to build 19 timber groynes and agreed to spend just under £100,000 on getting a detailed design drawn up.
Councillors voted in favour of spending that money up front to get work on the scheme under way in the hope that DEFRA will agree to fund one hundred per cent of the total costs.
The estimated cost of saving the beach varies from just over £2 million to more than £3 million depending on whether sand used to recharge the beach is dredged from Poole Harbour or from further afield.
Cllr Nick Cake said: "If DEFRA come up with 100 per cent funding there will be no problem but if they don't there will be a problem."
Council chief executive Paul Croft told councillors that landing 100 per cent funding from DEFRA was not unprecedented - pointing to West Dorset District Council's success in securing funds for coastal protection works at West Bay.
Cllr Tony Miller, mayor of Swanage, said: "The majority of the people in Swanage did not want to see rock groynes but there was overwhelming opinion that to do nothing is not an option.
"There is no point whatsoever in delaying this, we will only have higher costs in the future."
Purbeck council will seek support from MP Jim Knight in its request for 100 per cent DEFRA funding.
Scheme planners hope to start work in October 2005. Five groynes will be built on beach owned by Swanage Town Council and the rest on privately owned beach.
First published: November 12