TEMPORARY wave barriers have been deployed at three locations in Swanage, in a bid to prevent flooding in the Victorian seaside town

The seasonal defences have been put in place by the Environment Agency, and come as longer-term plans to improve permanent flood defences took a significant step forward this month.

Swanage Town Council has agreed to fund its share of permanent works developed by a partnership of organisations under the umbrella of the Dorset Coast Forum.

On the latest temporary barriers, Environment Agency spokesman Neil Watson said: "The Environment Agency successfully set out seasonal wave barriers at three locations in Swanage.

"The concrete blocks were installed near the Mowlem Theatre, in the Heritage Square and on the slipway adjacent to the stone quay.

"These barriers will serve to take energy out of waves which have come over the promenade walls, where there is a pathway through to homes and businesses in the town centre.

"The flooding impact of storms should be greatly reduced as a consequence. The barriers will be removed in March next year and stored for future use.

"The longer term plan is to build a permanent scheme and a group of organisations is working in partnership to develop options which will be put to local residents next year."

These longer term plans, which are jointly funded by the town council and Dorset Council, aim to also enhance public spaces around the flood defences.

Speaking after the funding announcement was made earlier this month, town mayor Mike Bonfield said: "We are pleased to be pushing ahead with this substantial programme of works which will greatly benefit our town centre’s businesses and residents.

"Particularly, providing much improved flood defences which will be fit for purpose for years to come, and reduce the need for unsightly temporary defences."

Swanage Town Council, the Environment Agency and a partnership of coastal engineers from Dorset Council and BCP Council, will each lead on aspects of the work, which will be co-ordinated by Dorset Coast Forum.

A series of floods from the sea in recent years have caused significant problems around the lower High Street.

Dorset Coast Forum is planning engagement sessions next spring where members of the public can have their say on planned proposals for long-term alternatives.