Repair work alongside the erosion-hit West Cumbrian coast road may not begin until next month, it has been revealed.

And, with work to shore up the bank expected to take up to two months, it could be July before the road is reopened - more than four months after it was shut.

The news has prompted Workington MP Sue Hayman to press for one lane of the B5300 to be reopened, with traffic lights, as a temporary measure to ease the pressure on residents and businesses.

A 1.2km stretch of the coast road at Dubmill Point has been closed on safety grounds since February 20 after an inspection revealed that a section of coastline almost two metres wide had washed away in just two months.

Work to install rock armour and reinstate the washed away bank has been awaited since then, but the council cannot begin work until all necessary licences are in place.

The final licence application to Natural England was submitted on March 25 but a council spokesman this week revealed that the government body has until May 3 to process it.

It means businesses between Maryport and Silloth could face major disruption well into the tourist season.

Mrs Hayman is urging the council's highways department to do all it can to reopen the shut road as soon as possible and ease the pressure on affected businesses and residents.

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She said: "If it's possible to do it then we absolutely have to be looking at doing that rather than having a long road closure.

"Clearly health and safety has to be taken into account but the county council needs to look and see if it's achievable.

"If that road is closed there are long diversions and it causes a lot of disruption to local businesses and residents.

"I have had local businesses who are extremely concerned about the economic impact of the closure.

"We just need to get this done as soon as possible, let people know these businesses are there and open, and get this whole situation sorted out as quickly as we can."

Mrs Hayman's intervention has been welcomed by Westnewton resident David Taylor, who said the reopening of the road was a matter of urgency.

He said he and others living along the route of the official diversion had adopted a longer detour because of the volume of traffic using the formal route.

He said: "It must be affecting hundreds of people.

"Sometimes I feel like sitting on the end of the Westnewton road with a clicker and counting all the vehicles.

"People are losing income. There's a lot of disruption for everybody on the Solway Plain."