WORK to restore part of the beach at Milford-on-Sea, which has been lost to strong tides, has started.

Around 4,000 tonnes of shingle is being delivered to top up the area in front of the concrete beach huts. The work forms part of New Forest District Council’s annual coastal defence work.

The beach ‘recharge’, as it is known, will also protect properties behind the huts, the council says.

Beach loss is a continuing problem at Milford-on-Sea as strong tides continue to move shingle along the shore.

In February, a row of beach huts worth almost £1million was condemned overnight after the shingle in front was washed away by storms. The erosion created a 12ft steep bank to open up in front of the huts, putting them at risk of toppling over.

But instead of replenishing the stones as it had done before, the council ordered the demolition of the privately-owned huts.

The work, which started on Monday, will be taking place over the next three or four weeks.

Restrictions are in place in the Hurst Road West car park to accommodate the works compound and allow trucks to deliver shingle to the beach.

“Pedestrians will be able to access the lower promenade and beach huts from all access steps apart from the central set adjacent to the toilets where the shingle is to be delivered to the beach,” the district council said.

“Public safety will be managed by banksmen and there will be provision for the public to walk around the perimeter of the compound.

“Mechanical plant will be located on the beach to spread the shingle along to both the east and the west in order to fill up the groyne bays that require a top up, above the level of mean high water. There may be occasions when the public access to the beach is restricted to allow for safe operation of the machines.

“The shingle will be ‘beneficial use’ material (rather than dug from a quarry) and originates from a marine source. This means the material is being re-used as a beach rather than being disposed of, so there are significant savings and environmental benefits.

The works are being carried out by Earlcoate Construction Ltd.

Last week, members of the council’s environment overview and scrutiny panel met to discuss new ways of securing funds to ensure Milford-on-Sea, as well as Hurst Spit and Barton-on-Sea, remain protected.

Members were told a project was required to reduce coastal flood risk along the frontage between Milford-on-Sea and Lymington, focusing on the future management of Hurst Spit and the flood embankment between Milford-on-Sea and Lymington.