A business owner fears the future of his business could be jeopardised if action is not taken to protect a coastal road from erosion.

Bill James, owner of Bank Mill Visitor Centre at Beckfoot, gets 60 per cent of his trade from customers in West Cumbria.

But, in times of bad weather, they are often prevented from accessing the attraction by road closures on the B5300 at Dubmill Point.

And Mr James fears the whole road could soon be undermined and washed away.

Cumbria County Council has said work is planned to address erosion near the road, but it is unclear what the work will entail or when it will be done.

Two years ago Mr James led a petition for action to be taken to protect the road, which links Maryport to Silloth and villages in between.

Now, however, Mr James says the problem has got far worse, with just an estimated five yards of beach left between the sea and the carriageway at one point.

In recent years, stone-filled gabions have been placed along the coast north of Dubmill Point to help protest the coastline from erosion.

But Mr James said many of them had been washed out of position and damaged by strong waves, rendering them useless.

He is calling for more groynes to be installed along that area of coastline to slow the approaching water and reduce the velocity with which it hits the shore.

And he claims they should be pile driven into the beach, rather than placed in holes and backfilled, to give them the solid grounding they need.

If the work was done, Mr James said, it would protect the road - and businesses along it - in the long term.

And, he said, it would reduce the amount of debris thrown onto the road when high tides and high winds combine, decreasing the frequency of closures on the road.

Mr James said: "We are dependant on traffic coming in from West Cumbria. About 60 per cent of our customers come from the west. When they decide to shut the road we may as well shut shop.

"By the time you go to Aspatria then Silloth and back down to Allonby you're adding 20 minutes to your journey to get to us.

"On Sunday we had staff standing around waiting for the regulars to come in. I went out out of curiosity and found some of our regulars at another restaurant because they couldn't get through.

"It takes time to build up customer and you don't get the money back that you lose on the day.

"It's not just myself. The shops in Silloth are affected as well when people can't get up the coast.

"It's a crying shame when there's nothing being done.

"If the road washes away we may as well shut shop."

A county council spokesman said: “We are aware of the erosion issues at Dubmill point and funding has been allocated for coastal defence work here. We are now awaiting consent from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) before the works begin. Monitoring will continue until the required MMO consent has been given.

"During the recent Storm Erik the road was closed on safety grounds to allow debris to be removed from the carriageway and reopened when it was safe to do so.”