THE town council has said it is investing more resources into keeping Lyme Regis seafront clean and tidy during the busy summer season.
Speaking at last week’s annual town meeting, local resident Betty Holmes asked how the town council was planning to work with Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) to resolve the problem of waste bin collection on the seafront during major events.
Town clerk John Wright said the council had been investing a lot of resources this year and last in the seafront, and had appointed a seafront attended and a new cleansing operative.
He added: “We have not got 94 hours worth of resources to support seafront activities. When we have major events, we focus those resources on supporting those events because we think it’s really important.
“At the same time, we’re having very strong conversations with the event organisers, because actually it’s the responsibility of the event organiers to take their rubbish away.
“DWP finish on the seafront in the early evening and we need to make sure we carry the baton on those busy days. We have thought about this and we are doing something.”
Mrs Holmes said: “I said major events but actually I went down during the Easter holidays when it was a nice day and I was appalled that there again the rubbish was spewing out of the bins. I feel ashamed to be Lyme Regis resident when I see that.
“I filled 15 black bags in the summer when Guitars On The Beach were there because it was just terrible, it was really bad.”
Mr Wright replied: “We will not get it right every time but we’re not just looking at major events but holidays and weekends when we know we’re going to be at our busiest. That’s where we put our resources.”
District and county councillor Daryl Turner said eco-group Turn Lyme Green was working to alleviate the use of polystyrene and plastic, which some businesses had already taken on board.
“Imagine the impact if all those shops on the seafront did that,” he said.
Town councillor Stan Williams expressed concern that the sandy beach was dirty and had not been cleaned in recent months.
“On Wednesday I went down the front to look at our lovely, beautiful sandy beach and it was disgraceful,” he said.
“The winter rubbish is still on it, logs, seaweed and mess, everything brought up on it. It’s not clean, it’s absolutely terrible. The beach-cleaning machine has not been there.
“We’re crazy, this council is falling apart on dealing with urgent matters. We have more staff then we’ve ever had, I called into the office to complain but it’s not been done properly. Really disgusting!”
The town council administrative officer Adrianne Mullins reported that the tractor and beach-cleaning machine had not been able to get on the sand because of a ridge caused by recent stormy weather. However, she said the council’s outside workforce had been sent down to the beach that day to clear as much as possible by hand.
Councillor Jeff Scowen said he thought Councillor Williams was being unfair.
Councillor Williams replied: “I’m just telling the truth.”
Councillor Scowen continued: “This is a seaside place, we do have storms, we can’t clean up every little bit of log that comes up. It’s not that bad, I’m sure it’s no worse than anywhere else.
“It’s a constant moving environment and it can’t be cleaned up, it’s not possible. I think you’re being a little unfair on our beautiful seafront.”
Lyme resident Nigel Ball asked who was responsible for leveling the ridge created on the sandy beach.
Councillor Turner reported that West Dorset District Council had no funding to replenish the beach. However, when it dredged the harbour once a year, the material removed from the harbour was deposited on the beach.
The dredging took place two weeks ago, and Councillor Turner added: “What’s happened since then is called nature.”
Mr Ball said that a lack of funding was going to become more apparent as a unitary authority took over the existing district and county councils.
“We’re going to have to address a lot more problems than a little bit of sand ridging up on the beach. We’re going to have to work this one out by ourselves,” he said.