Developers behind the £250 million beach development at Carlyon Bay in Cornwall have been ordered to remove a sea wall built without permission a decade ago as part of early work on a luxury development.
Commercial Estates Group (CEG) was first told to remove the sheet piling defences in 2008, but the row has bounced back and forth since.
Two months before the application was to expire in December 2012, CEG applied to retain the sea defences. Then in July 2013, when the proposal was due to be approved, the firm withdrew them at the last minute.
CEG then reapplied for the temporary defences, which provide storm protection for the information centre and viewing platform, to remain until March 2016, saying the scheme had stalled because of the economic climate.
The bid failed last November when councillors refused the extension. Last week, Cornwall Council’s central sub-area planning committee voted in favour of removal.
Peter Price, spokesman for campaign group Carlyon Baywatch, said: “It has taken an enormous amount of effort to get this far, and we wholeheartedly welcome the council’s decision.
“We now hope that, by next season, the public will at last be able to enjoy something of the natural levels of the foreshore again.”
Cornwall Council confirmed that members had “resolved to take enforcement action in respect of approximately 80 metres of sea wall at Crinnis Beach, Carlyon Bay”.
“The enforcement notice will have a three-month period to come into effect and a 12- month compliance period thereafter,” it said.
“The council is now in the process of drafting the notice for service in due course. The notice will be served on those with an interest in the land and they could exercise their right of appeal.”
Planning permission was granted for the site in 1990 and sea defences built to protect proposed apartments and construction workers.
Opponents protested the defences were dangerous and too big, and the then scheme was rejected in 2006 following a public inquiry.
CEG came back with a revised scheme, which was backed by the local authority and the Government in 2011. It has yet to go ahead because of the economic climate.
“It’s obviously disappointing and we’ll be considering all our options before making any further decisions,” said Jon Kenny, development director for CEG.
“The next 12 months will be an important time for us and we want to concentrate on moving our plans in the right direction to secure funding and progress the building programme.
“We understand that the remaining stretch of sheet piling is not the prettiest but it’s there for the purpose of protecting the information centre.
“This summer we will be taking various steps to ensure the beach is as pleasant as possible for visitors and tourists by employing Cormac to clean the area on a regular basis.
“We will also be maintaining the public toilet which had to be moved to the top of the site due to vandalism.”