LYME Regis residents have complained of parking chaos over the Easter weekend, as thousands of visitors descended on the town with no park and ride services available.
Lyme Regis Town Council was unable to open its park and ride sites at both Sidmouth Road and Charmouth Road in time for Easter.
Continued use of the Sidmouth Road site as a park and ride is currently the subject of a planning application with East Devon District Council – as the land lies just across the county border in the parish of Uplyme.
Town councillors had been hoping that the application would be considered on April 11th – meaning if it was approved the site could be opened in time for Easter – but it has now been reported that the application will not be considered until further information has been provided on various transport-related queries.
A similar application to continue using the site was rejected last year, with one of the reasons being the lack of information included on transport issues in the town as a whole.
The town council employed architects Boon Brown to complete the new application on its behalf, and the company is now responding to various issues and questions raised by East Devon’s planning officer.
Chairman of the town council’s Planning Committee, Councillor Stephen Miller, and deputy town clerk Mark Green, have also been working to obtain supportive comments for the application, and further information from Dorset County Council’s highways department, the local business community and others.
The application has already attracted several objections, including from East Devon District Council’s local ward member, Ian Thomas, and Uplyme Parish Council’s Planning Committee.
The uncertainty of the planning application’s outcome has thrown into doubt this summer’s park and ride services, as has the council’s search for a new bus operator after Sovereign Coaches ceased trading just before Christmas.
The process of finding a new operator has been delayed, as Dorset County Council is currently re-tendering for its school bus service and the successful applicant is likely to also want to take on the park and ride services in Lyme Regis outside of the school term, but this will not be announced until May.
The complications meant that Charmouth Road park and ride was also closed over Easter.
Residents took to social media to complain of parking chaos over the busy weekend, with one describing the situation as “horrendous” and reporting town centre traffic jams and arguments as drivers searched for parking spaces elsewhere.
Temporary car parks were opened in a field in Haye Lane and at Lyme Regis Football Club.