The full cost of repairing one of Somerset’s harbours may not be known for many months as work on the ground continues.

Somerset West and Taunton Council undertook emergency repairs to the Splash Point within Watchet’s harbour wall just before Christmas, when a section collapsed as a result of high tides and strong winds.

These repairs were largely destroyed in mid-February by Storm Ciara, with a further section of the wall also giving way.

With further repairs being undertaken, the council has confirmed it will not know the cost of the effort – and therefore the bill taxpayers will have to foot – for quite some time.

Councillor Marcus Kravis, portfolio holder for asset management and economic development, confirmed the harbour’s condition in a report to the full council in Taunton on Wednesday evening (February 26).

He said in his written report: “On February 11 we were made aware of a further failure to the Splash Point wall.

“Following site visits, there was found to be a loss of the temporary repair that was undertaken in December, as well as the loss of the remainder of this section of wall, somewhere in the region of 30 metres in all.

“Further investigations at low tide have shown that, in losing the remainder of the 1860s wall, the wave action has also washed out much of the material that went into filling and protecting the hole before Christmas.

“There was a view that, in normal tidal and weather conditions for this time of year, it would be sufficient until a more permanent solution could be put in place.

“Storm Ciara has brought with it very high tides and strong winds, and it is the direction of those winds that have had such an impact.”

Some of the pre-Christmas repair did remain intact, and the council’s contractor Kier has sourced stone from Cornwall and a 50-tonne excavator from Birmingham to make the necessary repairs.

The council voted in late-January to allocate £100,000 towards design works for a permanent solution for the Splash Point.

Mr Kravis said he had instructed both the contractors and the design team to incorporate the emergency repairs into the final scheme to “prevent any risk of further failure” to the wall.

Speaking outside of the meeting, he added: “There was no money originally allocated to repair the Splash Point wall, as we are dealing with an emergency situation.

“It remains early days and contractors are still on site repairing the damage. The intention is to deliver a permanent solution rather than a temporary fix.

“As we work through the scheme with our contractors, we will get a better understanding of the final cost of both the emergency repair work and the likely cost for the permanent repair.

“We are not in a position to put a definitive cost to either scenario at present.”

Councillor Loretta Whetlor (who represents Watchet and Williton) has extended her thanks to the council’s staff for the work undertaken to date.

Speaking at the full council meeting, she said: “On behalf of the people of Watchet, I would like to record thanks from the town council and the people of Watchet for the work going on to repair our harbour wall. The council’s staff have been exemplary.”

A separate section of the Watchet harbour, known as the East Quay Wall, will also be reinforced and improved under a separate council scheme.

Up to £100,000 will go on designing the scheme, with £540,000 being allocated towards the construction work.

The East Quay site – which adjoins the site – is being regenerated by the Onion Collective, and will include a gallery, restaurant and self-catering holiday pods by the summer of 2021.

The council has confirmed the ongoing repairs to the Splash Point will have no impact on the East Quay work.

A spokeswoman said: “The storm damage to the Splash Point wall has had no effect on the East Quay wall project; the two walls and projects are separate.

“The East Quay wall figures are unchanged from those reported in late-January.”