The wait for vital coastal defence work alongside the closed West Cumbrian coastal road is continuing - as the county council waits for yet another licence.

A 1.2km stretch of the B5300 at Dubmill Point has been shut since February 20 after Cumbria County Council discovered that a stretch of coastline almost two metres wide had washed away in just two months.

At the time, the council said it was awaiting a licence from the Marine Management Organisation to install rock armour and reinstate the bank, allowing it to reopen the key road between Maryport and Silloth.

When that licence was received, it was announced that a further permit was needed from Natural England because of natterjack toads nearby.

Now a spokesman has said that Natural England has granted a licence for the work to be done within a site of special scientific interest but a European Protected Species (EPS) licence is now needed because of the toads.

He added: "The licence is currently being processed."

The council had previously said work was likely to begin last week.

Rock is currently being stockpiled on the closed road ready for the work, which is expected to take two months to complete.

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Bill James, owner of Bankmill Visitor Centre at Beckfoot has seen his takings drop by two thirds since the road was closed.

He said: "It's an absolute farce. It's not a holiday we're on. You don't wait until Christmas. They should get on with it. I don't think they care."

Mr James said his business was in a unique position being so close to the closure.

He said: "Allonby folk get our customers going there. Silloth still has people going down from Carlisle. We're piggy in the middle."

He would like to see the council reopen the road as a single lane with traffic lights, a reduced speed limit and cameras to enable vital customers to get through.

He said: "We need every bit of help we can get and we don't need the likes of the council and the highway men just knocking us back."

But a spokesman said: "We considered all options and unfortunately closing the road is the only one that guarantees the safety of the public."