Working hard to ensure we get it right

Olli Apps pictured in one of the council’s beach wheelchairs, which help make the sand accessible to all

OVERFLOWING bins and the litter-strewn seafront came under the spotlight over the early-May bank holiday weekend.

Hands up – both the town council and Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) were caught out and hadn’t put in place the necessary resources to deal with the extra waste.

The council was under pressure to make sure there was no repeat of this over the Spring bank holiday, and with three major events taking place in the town at the same time, we had our work cut out. Jazz Jurassica, B Sharp’s Busking Festival and the Dorset Street Food Festival, together with the hot weather and school holidays, meant it was probably the busiest weekend of the year so far.

We met with the organisers of the jazz and street food festivals, joined by the police and fire and rescue service, and fine-tuned plans for the weekend, discussing everything from vehicle movements and security, to waste management and first aid.

We drafted in staff to work extra hours, allowing us to provide cleaning, waste management, and enforcement cover between 6am and 10pm for the whole weekend. Several members of staff went above and beyond the call of duty and deserve the council’s thanks – they know who they are.

We bought two extra-large rubbish bins to store excess waste, the street food festival had hired dozens of extra bins to cope with demand, and Dorset Waste Partnership’s operatives had switched to summer hours.

A lot of work went on behind the scenes in the run-up to and during the long weekend and on reflection, we think things worked pretty well. To the thousands of people who descended on Lyme Regis, we hope the town came across as well-organised and efficient.

The challenge now is to make sure we keep up the good work and don’t let things slip for the rest of the season and into the future.

Our beach is for everyone!

WE believe our beautiful sandy beach should be available for everyone to enjoy. That’s why we bought two beach wheelchairs last year, making the sand and shore accessible to everyone.

The all-terrain wheelchairs can be hired for free by anyone who has difficulty getting onto the beach and there are two different types to suit various needs.

When we bought the wheelchairs last year, two local residents – Oli Apps, then aged seven (pictured), and Vicci Stocqueler, then aged 49 – were the first to try them out. Each of them had very different needs – Oli has been in specialist buggies or a wheelchair since he was born, while Vicci can walk a little but has limited mobility.

We took them down to the shore and the pleasure they got from the experience was worth every penny of the £6,000 the council spent on the wheelchairs.

Although there’s not much the council can do about the hills in the town or the old buildings with steps and narrow entrances, where possible, the council is aiming to make Lyme more accessible to people with disabilities and impairments.

We have recently installed signs showing the step-free route from the top of town at the Langmoor Garden gates to the seafront, and the reverse route. The route may be 550 metres long, but the fabulous views help to make it less onerous.

The beach wheelchairs can be booked in advance through the tourist information centre and collected from the Jubilee Pavilion information point on the seafront. They can also be hired on the day if they have not been pre-booked.

To pre-book, contact the tourist information centre on 01297 442138 or email lymeregis.tic@westdorset-weymouth.gov.uk.

For more information about the wheelchairs, including a booking form and terms and conditions, as well as general information about accessibility in Lyme Regis, visit www.lymeregis.org/accessibility.

Early starts to keep beach clean and tidy

IF you’ve ever taken an early morning walk along the seafront, you would have seen the freshly-raked sand and may take great pleasure in making the first footprints of the day.

During the spring and summer, our external works’ team is out bright and early in the mornings getting the town ready for the day ahead.

The tractor is out several times a week to comb the beach and remove debris, the cleansing operative is litter-picking and emptying bins from the crack of dawn, the seafront attendant is making the parade look presentable, the gardeners have an early start to water the hanging baskets, and enforcement officers work an early shift to patrol the car parks and check people are abiding by local dog controls.

There are times when we get caught out and there’s more rubbish than we expected or someone on the early morning shift has called in sick, but for the most part, these jobs take place day in, day out.

Let’s not focus on the odd occasion when things don’t go according to plan, but the many days when things do.

Disappointment over park and ride

WE finally had the news late last week that planning permission had been refused for the Sidmouth Road park and ride.

It’s disappointing, although not entirely unexpected, and we remain committed to finding a real solution to the town’s wider traffic and parking problems.

On a positive note, Charmouth Road park and ride is proving to be a huge success, with almost 2,600 passengers using the service over the early-May bank holiday weekend. Given the high demand on the service, the council has decided to run the park and ride every weekend in June.

This, of course, comes at a cost to the council. If the weather is bad or there are no major events to attract visitors, demand on the service may drop off, but that’s a risk the council is willing to take in the best interests of the town.

Showers require regular maintenance

WE’RE aware there have been some problems with the beach showers recently, but we are trialling a few solutions to resolve the issues.

Although the showers are specially made for a beach environment, sand is causing the buttons to stick, resulting in either constantly-flowing water or no running water at all.

New buttons were made by the suppliers last year and improved the situation, but now the showers have been turned back on for the main season, the problem has returned.

We think a more regular programme of maintenance to clear out the sand will help and we’re trying out a new silicone cover over the buttons.

The above is promoted content written and provided by the town council

Woodmead Halls

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