Sewer repairs which have closed Osborne Steps – linking the cliff top and Esplanade in Shanklin – are expected to take at least three months to complete.

The footpath, which connects Eastcliff Promenade with Shanklin Esplanade, will remain closed with diversions in place while Southern Water carries out the work, the Isle of Wight Council has been told.

The sewer was damaged on September 4 following ground movements in the area.

Camera investigations have revealed the failure starts around eight metres from the cliff top.

A Southern Water spokesperson said:

“Following unforeseeable damage to a section of sewer pipe in Shanklin, caused by ground movements, works to carry out difficult repairs must now begin.

“No pollution was caused and any wastewater was intercepted and quickly dealt with.

“Because of the difficult nature and positioning of this section of pipe, work to replace it and find a permanent, safe solution will be taking place over the next three months.

“We’ll continue to work closely with the Isle of Wight Council and any other partners to ensure our sewage pipe is repaired as quickly and as safely as possible.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused as we carry out these works.”

Dave Evans, the council’s strategic manager for highways and transport, added:

“We will do all we can to ensure the closure of this important footpath is kept to an absolute minimum.”