PLANNING permission has been granted for a park and ride service in Lyme Regis, but the recent poor weather means it will not open over the Easter weekend.
The park and ride at Charmouth Road, usually only open for the six-week summer holiday, has been extended to be able to operate from the end of March to the end of October.
Lyme Regis Town Council planned to operate the service from the Easter weekend, but wet weather means it cannot open until ground conditions improve.
No planning permission has been granted for continued use of the Sidmouth Road park and ride site, just across the border in East Devon, so this will also not be in operation over Easter.
Deputy town clerk Mark Green said: “Having obtained planning permission and being in a position to go with the bus company, the landowner of the Charmouth Road site has advised that the ground conditions are simply too wet for it to be used for parking over the coming weekend, especially with significant rainfall forecast between now and the weekend.
“We completely agree with this decision and we will continue to liaise with the landowner and bus company regularly over the coming days.
“We understand the land drains quickly and it should be useable given a clear week of largely dry weather.”
Charmouth Road park and ride has previously operated only during the summer holidays, but the council wanted to extend the season to help alleviate pressure on town centre car parks.
When open, the council says it will “significantly improve the previous Easter arrangements at the Sidmouth Road site”.
When weather conditions allow, there will be double the normal parking capacity and four times the normal bus capacity, as two double deckers will be running in a loop between the town and the site.
In the meantime, the town council has submitted an application for temporary continued use of the Sidmouth Road park and ride, from March 30 to September 30 2018, to East Devon District Council as the site is just across the county border in the parish of Uplyme.
The planning application was accepted by the district on March 19 2018 and it is expected it will be several weeks before a decision is made, missing the Easter holidays.
Deputy town clerk Mr Green said: “When it became clear we would not be able to get planning permission for Sidmouth Road in time for Easter, it became even more important to get the Charmouth Road site open.
“The Sidmouth Road site is even wetter than Charmouth Road and would have been similarly affected had there been a permission already in place.
“Everyone involved in securing the Charmouth Road planning permission, both at the town and district council and especially the landowner, have done everything they can to get the permission in place for Easter.
“It is therefore hugely frustrating that the weather will now prevent it from opening. We are hopeful that when the weather improves, it can open for at least part of the Easter holidays.”