JURASSIC coast tourism said to be worth £111m a year could be at risk, together with 2,000 jobs unless the coast and coast path re-opens soon.

The figures have been put on the value of the attraction to the county and neighbouring East Devon by Cabinet spokesman Cllr Ray Bryan.

He was speaking as Dorset Council backed new arrangements for the management of the world heritage site coast, together with East Devon, although one councillor was critical of the efforts of the county’s neighbour.

Cabinet spokesman Cllr Ray Bryan said the designation meant that everyone had an obligation to protect the coast through responsible, sustainable management practices.

He said the management and partnership plan had been widely consulted on and included policies about protection and access – although most of these were on hold because of lock-down with the consequent loss of income for both Dorset and Devon.

He said that since 2017 the Jurassic Coast Trust had taken the lead in the delivery of site management for both Dorset Council and Devon County Council – costing £120,000 a year, with £80,000 of that contributed by Dorset Council.

He said a number of other funders also contributed, some of those matching contributions pound for pound, or in some cases, in higher multiple.

Lyme Regis and Charmouth councillor Daryl Turner has said he is disappointed that the new management plan mentioned little in the way of marketing the coast, vital to the area’s tourism economy.

“We have one of the most values sites in the country. Could this element be strengthened, could there be a bigger marketing presence?” he said.

Fellow councillor Matt Hall said he was concerned about the lack of evidence that the council spending represented value for money.

He told an online council meeting that the coast and paths on the Devon side do not seem to be maintained to as high a standard as they are in Dorset.

“The Dorset part in general is excellent, but across the border in East Devon there is quite a substantial problem with cliff falls, with the pedestrian walkways getting really quite close to the edge of the cliffs. It can be seen by some that councils are spending out money, but not seeing the work on the ground.

“I’m just after some re-assurance that this walk through time is being protected and is being looked after properly,” he said.

His comments will be taken up by Cllr Bryan, when he next meets with his counterpart to the west.