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seagullWhat is being done to stop town being over-run by seagulls?

August 31 2018

AN open letter also sent to Lyme Regis Town Council:

I READ with interest your articles in LymeOnline, and like the title ‘Lyme Matters’ for Philip Evans’ column, but if Lyme really ‘matters’ what is being done to stop it being over-run by seagulls?

As a family we have owned property in Lyme for the last 40 years and have been visiting it for many more, but for the last few years it has become a nightmare.   Apart from the noise, interrupted sleep, damage to property and bird droppings, this month my family has been constantly dive-bombed by seagulls and, on different attacks within a five day period, lost two ice-creams, a biscuit and a sandwich to their them – snatched from child hands without warning.

One bombing-snatch was on my four-year-old grandson, which left him with scratches to the arm. Only adult intervention has stopped further beach attacks.

It is only a matter of time before someone is really injured by them. When is someone going to take the problem in hand – do we have to wait for a serious injury or can we count on Lyme Regis Town Council to take action?

Marcia Williams
(by email)

THE following response was received from Lyme Regis Town Council: 

MANY thanks for your email concerning problems with seagulls in Lyme. Problems with attacks by seagulls is by no means limited to Lyme. Other West Dorset and East Devon seaside towns are experiencing identical problems and some schools, even in inland locations, have banned children from eating outside during school lunch breaks due to gull attacks.

We have recently launched an educational campaign aimed at visitors to the town and local suppliers of ice cream and food. There are numerous signs along the seafront area and all food and ice cream sellers have been given information leaflets to hand out to customers. This is part of a concerted effort along the entire coastal area to try and prevent the feeding of gulls and to encourage better packaging of food.

We will also be replacing bins with those of a more appropriate ‘seagull resistant’ design and the first phase of new bins has already been installed.

Some resorts are also now employing people with birds of prey to act as a further deterrent. We are currently looking at how effective this is; but initial feedback suggests that any effect is only very temporary.

It is something we take very seriously and are doing all we reasonably and lawfully can (herring gulls are a protected species) to address the problem.

There is no doubt that the problem has worsened in recent years. There are various theories as to why this should be the case; including changes to food packaging, changes to fishing practices at sea leading to more gulls foraging along the coast and inland, etc.

There is also a problem with some people choosing to actively feed the gulls as though they were ducks or pigeons. Unfortunately, this just encourages the gulls to look on humans as sources of food. To discourage this, West Dorset District Council has introduced a new legal order making it an offence to deliberately feed herring gulls in most of Lyme Regis, including all of the seafront areas.

I am also investigating other legal measures which can be taken, including egg replacement. This has been tried in one or two other locations and makes the gulls sit longer on the nest and limits their time spent foraging for food.

We are certainly committed to doing all we reasonably and lawfully can to minimise the problem.

Mark Green,
Deputy Town Clerk, Lyme Regis


three cups hotel
The council will consider moving their offices to the former Three Cups Hotel when it is redeveloped

Let’s get our act together on Three Cups

August 17 2018

I TOURED the wonderful Albert Hall in London this week followed by a cream tea in one of their restaurants. The whole day was perfect, and the tour very interesting and informative I learned so much from it.

I was amazed to learn that it only took four years to build the Albert Hall from the day that Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1867 to the day she officially opened the building in 1871.

It made me wonder whatever is going on here in Lyme; we have a cinema which is in ruins following the fire over two years ago, we have an hotel that has been empty waiting to rebuilt for over 20 years.

It is unbelievable that 145 years ago the Victorians were able to build that wonderful building in four years with no modern equipment, with no university trained designers, builders or anything like that.

Come on residents of Lyme Regis, let’s get our act together and persuade the owners of these properties to get on with it. We want our cinema back and the Three Cups to be up and running again.

Hazel Read,
Clappentail Park, Lyme Regis


Closing gym facilities does not help public relations of school

August 4 2018

NOT only is the Combined Cadet Force unable to continue at The Woodroffe School, but also the users, after school hours, of the sports hall and gym, which were hired out.

Dr Steward, the headmaster, is adamant, that due to safeguarding issues, this can no longer carry on. Other schools, I understand, are finding ways to deal with the issues so that their activities may continue.

Many groups are affected and about 130 users. The U3A badminton group has been using the courts for five years and gone from strength to strength in that time, never encountering a problem.

We gain so many benefits from playing, both mentally and physically. Trying to keep healthy and exercising is important and to take away this facility from so many users in the community does not help the public relations of the school.

Several organisations in the town are trying to promote health and wellbeing and this action seems strangely contrary to this philosophy.

Susan Gale,
Lyme Regis


Bank counter closure not acceptable

July 30 2018

AN open letter to Lloyds Bank following the announcement that counters in the Axminster branch will be closed:

I have to say how very disappointed I am that Lloyds Bank has decided to close Axminster branch, as dress it up however you will, closing the counter is effectively taking away that part of the branch that we use the most.

As an organisation, we receive cash for hire of our hall and we need coin floats for many of our fundraising activities. The inability to get the cash locally is really quite unacceptable. The restriction of depositing no more than five cheques in one transaction is also a nonsense.

Over the past few years, Lloyds Bank’s representation in West Dorset has been decimated. Starting with the closure of Beaminster branch about 15 years ago, more recently Bridport was handed to TSB and then Lyme Regis closed, the last bank in town. We were told then that Axminster would always be available to us and now we are being asked to drive to Seaton – how long before that too disappears?

Diverting many of us to that small branch, in a town few of us would choose to go to shop, will inevitably lead to even more queues. The additional time and cost of the journey is unacceptable.

The reason you give, that people choose to do their banking differently now, had a very hollow ring to it today when, at mid-morning the queue to use the two counter positions (reduced from three not long ago), was literally out of the door.

Not that the service was without fault today when we reached the front of the queue. I overheard one local shopkeeper being told that the branch had no £1 coins available for his change. A bank with no money! As it happened, I had £1 coins to deposit so we managed an exchange. Has it come to the point where customers are expected to help each other rather than use the bank?

It is probably too late to expect the faceless decision makers to change their minds, but you should know that I believe that the impact will have an adverse effect on the bank’s reputation and do no good in the long run. Again, there are no other alternative banks in town. We will consider a move to a bank in Bridport and in the meantime tell as many people as will listen what we think.

We may be only a small and insignificant account for you, but I suspect many others will share these views.

W.J. Taylor,
Wootton Fitzpaine Village Hall


Is a beach the right place for a protest?

July 27 2018

WITH the weather this summer being exceptional we decided as a family to make the journey from our home in Northampton to your beautiful town of Lyme Regis. A long weekend away.

On arrival we naturally, once settled, headed for the sandy beach area – our favourite spot. Only, on this occasion, we were confronted with a small group of people holding placards. We soon realised that the placards were part of a demonstration, a protest against Donald Trump. Yes, in Lyme Regis.

Is a beach, where people choose to go to relax and unwind, an appropriate outlet for such an ‘event’? My main gripe, however, was the offensive and unnecessary language printed on clothing. All ready drawn to the placards, we read four-letter expletives, clearly meant to be seen. As a mother of two young children, I was particularly upset and angry.

There is a time and a place for this kind of activity. A public beach with families consisting of children is most certainly not one of them. I do hope that in future the organisers spend more time considering their surroundings and choose to wear less offensive clothing. As adults, we expect more.

Sue and Brian Manning,


Still no statue of Mary Anning

Monday July 2 2018

I’M very disappointed that there is still no statue of Mary Anning in Lyme Regis. She was by far your most significant and important citizen and must be commemorated.

Surely it’s not on account of her gender that Lyme Regis is ignoring her?

In this year, when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffage, will you please pledge to erect a statue of Mary Anning? 

Maureen Luchini (nee Guppy)
By email 


What does future hold for
Three Cups Hotel?

Friday, June 22 2018

MY family and I have a long history with Lyme. I’ve been coming here on family holidays all my life – and my mother before that as a child with her sisters. 

I’m 40 now and the Three Cups Hotel has been closed up and empty for 30 years. I remember the beer garden going all the way down to the park in the 1980s. 

How can this have been allowed to go on? Lyme Regis is a thriving seaside town with a fantastic community at the heart of it. Not to mention it’s importance as part of the Jurassic Coast.

I just think it’s a terribly sad waste of a beautiful building. What does its future hold?

Matthew Daniel
By email


What to do when Lyme is full?

Monday, May 28 2018

QUESTION of the day! What to do when Lyme Regis is full?

Answer: Council man with van and three A-boards with the message written in large letters ‘Sorry Lyme is full, please come later or another day. Thank you!’

Man in van assesses the situation at 12noon and if all car parks are full, etc. puts each A-board at the three entrances to the town.

Man in van assesses the situation again at 4pm and either collects in the boards or does nothing until about 5pm (just before he clocks off) and collects the A-boards.

This is not rocket science, it does not need a digital electronic whizzy thing… just a man in a van.

Betty Holmes
By email


Food stands on top of the Marine Parade shelters – but none of them were local

Disappointed no local traders at food festival

Sunday, May 27 2018

I WENT to the food festival yesterday (Saturday), but was very disappointed that Lyme Regis council allowed a company that brought outside traders to do this, rather than local businesses.

It is well known that Lyme Regis high street struggles and takes less when there are events on the seafront and this would have been a perfect opportunity to support the local businesses.

This was blatantly obvious by the lack of people in the main shopping area and chatting with people who have businesses in town, who expressed that they were having a quiet day.

Lyme Regis has a wonderful wealth of great eating places. Surely it would have been better to support them rather than bring in other non-local businesses. It is really not sustainable and not supporting of the local food movement.

This area has a massive wealth of producers and eateries and it would have been a perfect opportunity for them.

I think it is appalling that the council did this to them and I made a point of not eating or drinking at the food festival, but did enjoy the local busking festival. I am very disappointed and sad for the lack of support for businesses in Lyme from the town council.

I am sure, and in fact I know, that one local business person would have arranged the whole food festival in return for having a stall, and they would have still had revenue from local businesses paying to have a stall. Yet another amazing missed opportunity from the town council.

Also there is no park and ride in Sidmouth Road, which is very unsupportive of local businesses again this year. I really do think the school could profit from running one from the school grounds in holidays and earn some much-needed revenue too.

Sophie Graves
By email

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Dorset Street Food Festival was organised by Street Food Warehouse, not Lyme Regis Town Council, although the council allowed permission for the use of Marine Parade for the event.


pedestrian crossing
The pedestrian crossing is set to be built between the Pug & Puffin and Joules stores, as shown on the image, with the loss of car parking either side

Pedestrian crossing proposal ‘absurd’

Friday, May 25 2018

THE decision to place a pedestrian crossing in Broad Street is absurd.

Firstly, the drastic loss of shoppers’ parking spaces, and I am amazed that business owners haven’t created more of a furore about it.

Secondly, it will create more congestion especially in summer.

Thirdly, who will bother to walk up or down the street to use it when Broad Street is narrow enough to go across with a break in the traffic?

Fourthly, how on Earth have we survived so long in the town without a crossing?

Fifthly, it is unnecessary expense. If there is money in the budget it would be far better spent on a professional survey of the town’s overall traffic problem.

Frank Allen,
Lyme Regis


The cast of ‘Hello, Dolly!’ take to the stage for the finale accompanied by a live band (photo by Philip Evans)

‘Hello, Dolly!’ show was special for many reasons

Wednesday, May 23 2018

MY husband and I enjoyed a very special performance of ‘Hello, Dolly!’ from Lyme Regis Musical Theatre at the Woodmead Halls in May. It was special for several reasons.

As it approaches its 100th anniversary in 2020/2021 the group has evolved with the years as things change, but still has the core of local family names in each production using their particular skills and talents.

Now we see the wider community of our area joining together as each production, under excellent direction, becomes more professional and is supported by audiences from the wider area too, and those who joined as children are now adult performers.

The Woodmead Halls offered a splendid venue with excellent acoustic and vision of the wider stage. Above all, for we older folk, very easy and good parking. And many of us are older and are only able to come if we have easy parking.

On a personal note the ice creams were delicious and the bar easily accessible. We are so fortunate in our small town to have two such venues, and we have in our theatre, too, a vital and buzzing place with amazing talent performing most nights and adapting to the needs of the community as they arise. For instance showing films which our cinema would normally have.

We must not forget too the amazing music from the church, again serving a wider and different audience. We are only 3,500 approx. in population, we are so lucky to have all this and need to support what we have.

Time passes and though change is sometimes hard to get used to, it quickly becomes part of life. For these reasons we thank all of those involved in the performance we saw, special for so many reasons. Please do it again!

Audrey & Keith Vivian,
Sidmouth Road, Lyme Regis


seafront rubbishLack of seafront bins a ‘disgrace’

Tuesday, May 8 2018

I’M a new resident to Lyme Regis, who feels very strongly about litter and general rubbish.

Firstly, I am told that paper and plastic is landfilled anyway, so what is point in separating it? And secondly, why has the council not supplied more bins during summer months for rubbish along the beaches? Absolute disgrace!

I assume the response is lack of funding in both cases.

Robert Mill
By email


fossilResponsible fossil collecting needs to be promoted

Monday, April 30 2018

I HAVE been coming to Lyme Regis for half a century, like most visitors, to marvel at the wonderful ammonite fossils, both large and small, loose on the beach and in the cliffs. More recently to do some stone balancing.

For more than 30 of those years, the beach had hundreds of huge flat blocks with dustbin lid sized ammonites. I could return to the same spot year after year and be sure to recognise favourites that became almost friends. I was delighted that most visitors revered these wonders of nature and few tried to hammer, let alone remove them.

I took regular study groups in summer holidays and everywhere we quickly found coin-sized perfect white ammonites. Gradually I had to bring these forays forward to Easter and then to be able to find as many it needed a good winter storm.

Last week I struggled to find even a few, and all of the distinctive pebbles (the ones I know upon splitting will reveal these perfect fossils) also seem to have been removed by ‘collectors’! Whilst I have no problem with the few fossils that were taken away before this activity became so heavily publicised (and incidentally I made a point of returning some) there were always plenty for others to enjoy. Responsible collecting is fine but it needs to be promoted.

I have to say that my last trip to Lyme was absolutely ruined, not just by the lack of fossil abundance, but by the wholesales removal of rock. Gone even, were the huge blocks that I always felt were safe from their sheer size. I did come across two parties who were not only loading massive single blocks into rucksacks they could barely lift, one was engaged in what could best be described as quarrying – employing a sledge hammer, four foot long crow bars and a wheelbarrow!

Needless to say I could not find a single ‘old friend’ from Monmouth Beach. I could not even fine one of the comma-shaped stones I like to balance!

When challenged one perpetrator, near the famous Ammonite Pavement, informed me that no ‘collector’ would break this up, and the unsightly mess of broken fragments he had made would soon become rounded by the sea; which is also continually releasing fossils from the cliff. Well over centuries, this may be true, but like a discarded biodegradable banana skin the hammered mess will be an eyesore for some a time.

I am sorry, I am old enough to know first hand how long it takes for the sea to destroy the fossils, because for many years I could keep going back the same recognisable ammonites. At the same time erosion is making replacements far too slowly to keep up with this kind of selfish wholesale ‘collecting’.

It is disappointing that the existing £20,000 fine for removal of this significant geological heritage is nether enforced nor acts a deterrent.

Richard Arthur BSc FGS,


The proposed lifeguard hut would be raised above the sand

Lifeguard hut a ‘white elephant’

Friday, April 20 2018

NO, no, no! I feel compelled to write as a protest to the elevated lifeguard station that has recently been featured on LymeOnline.

It is so American and so wrong for Lyme Regis – a quintessentially English seaside town. These large cabins are put on legs because the huge sandy beaches in America are so flat, the higher viewpoint is necessary for the lifeguard to see for miles.
Lyme’s beach is small – the sandy part, very small – and the beach has its own natural gradient to the water.

The old RNLI lifeguard hut can see clearly above people’s heads, positioned on the ‘upper level’, as it was, and we all knew that if there was a lost child, or a swimming drama, someone would run and tell the lifeguard immediately if they had not spotted the trouble themselves.

Please do not spoil our beautiful, quaint and very special holiday resort by putting a huge eyesore white elephant on the beach that is so inappropriate.

Council members, please reverse your decision again, or take a public vote. It will ruin the look of the beach front and is quite unnecessary.

Monica Simpson,
Long Entry, Lyme Regis


Do we want our beach to be a dog’s toilet?

Sunday, March 4 2018

AT half term on a lovely sunny day, my two granddaughters were happily sitting eating their lunch on the pebble beach in Lyme Regis.

Many dogs were racing around on the sandy part of the beach, which is exposed at low tide. Suddenly a large golden labrador bounded up the pebbles and, without hesitation, cocked his leg over my nine-year-old granddaughter and weed over her.

I yelled at the dog and tried in vain to push it away. The owner just looked at me and casually walked on.

How can it possibly be sensible to have dogs loose on our lovely beaches? I have owned dogs all of my adult life and love them, but there is sensible place to exercise dogs – Monmouth Beach for example.

On another occasion I watched as a smart young lady kick pebbles over her dog’s excrement. The sea does not reach that part of the beach.

Do we want our superb but small, main beach to be a dog’s loo? Okay this is not all the year round but dog poo takes a while to disappear.

I hope with all my heart that the powers that be will reconsider their decision regarding dogs off the lead on the main beaches, at any time.

Elizabeth Wilson
By email


george somers statue
A statue is already in place to commemorate former Mayor of Lyme Regis, Sir George Somers, who colonised Bermuda

Somers the most worthy of Lyme’s historic personages

Monday, February 26 2018

IF Geoff Baker takes his information from Wikipedia it is not surprising that all the statements he made about Somers are complete rubbish.

He was not involved in the slave trade, it started some 40 years after he died. He was not a pirate, he was a privateer operating under Letters of Reprisal issued by the crown.

He was born in Lyme, the family lived in Coombe Street, his childhood was spent in the town. He was a captain in the Queen’s navy and served with distinction. He was a founder member of the Virginia Company and played a major role in establishing the first English colony in America and in fact died on Bermuda  while attempting to resupply the colony.

He was also an effective MP for the Borough and held in high regard.  The full facts reveal that he was without doubt the most worthy of Lyme’s historic personages.

He was however a ‘man of his times’, Elizabethan England was not the England of today, judgements need to take this into account.

I would be happy to give Geoff a free tutorial on Somers, after all I did spend five years of intense research before my biography of his life was published last November.

As to Mary Anning, when I was coastguard I was frequently asked the best place to find fossils, when I mentioned her grave there was a complete lack of interest. Instead of  statues (including Somers) we should celebrate Lyme’s history from ‘Port to Resort’ with a pictorial display in the Marine shelters.

Peter Lacey,
Fairfield Park, Lyme Regis


pedestrian crossing
The pedestrian crossing is set to be built between the Pug & Puffin and Joules stores, as shown on the image, with the loss of car parking either side

Pedestrian crossing a ‘waste of money’

Friday, February 23 2018

IT would seem the Lyme Regis town councillors are hell bent on copying Bridport in wasting money.

Bridport has a cycle path that no one can see was needed, Lyme are manoeuvring to install a pedestrian crossing that only a few councillors seem to think is necessary.

I know 600 signed a petition to install one but I wonder how it was worded because I never saw it.

Councillor Reynolds is quoted as saying: “I know you’ll say it will back up the traffic but in the summer there traffic is already backed up and there’s nothing we can do about it.” Yes alright, but what about all the waffle on trying to streamline the flow of traffic through the town then?

If as Dorset County Council says we could not have it adjacent to the Royal Lion entrance how close is the suggested site to the Three Cups to say nothing about the loss of parking spaces?

I have lived in Lyme since 1972, in our early days here the main A35 trunk road ran through Lyme Regis and we all managed to cross the road with no accidents then. It does not matter where you put a crossing here people will still cross the road wherever they happen to be standing. To say that we are the only town with no crossing is beside the point.

Let DCC spend the money on something useful, like mending a few potholes.

Jim Moseley,
Charmouth Road, Lyme Regis


lyme online frontThe ‘local paper’ binds community together

Friday, February 23 2018

DO you share my mixed feelings on welcoming LymeOnline?

This phoenix rises from the ashes of the View From stable of free papers that covered West Dorset, East Devon and South Somerset. Local newspapers are being wiped out nationwide as advertising moves online: the wonder is not that the View From titles fell victim to that tide, but that they battled on so long despite it.

When papers die, so do jobs. The talented, predominantly young team that brought us our free weekly news, information and comment must now hunt for jobs in a difficult climate.

When a community paper dies, the staff pay the most direct and human price; but also lost is something of what binds the community together. ‘The local paper’ has for generations been one of the most important ways that those who live in a place access a common store of knowledge about it, share ideas and wishes for it, and hold to account those who govern it. Social media, even when responsibly used, cannot fulfil those needs.

Regret at what’s lost, then. But also a welcome for the new, an online source of things we need to know, a fresh way for the community to talk with itself about what matters.

For elderly stick-in-the-muds like me, it’s good to know that a regular print version will arrive in my letterbox (a logistical feat in itself); it’s great that the coverage is Lyme, Charmouth and Uplyme, recognising a neighbourly inter-dependence that transcends both boundary-lines on a map and political inwardness.

So good luck to the new venture. Even more than luck, it will need the support of its advertisers, most of them local businesses. Among the many contributions that business makes to our community, its share in sustaining a serious local ‘press’ – even if ‘press’ is no longer a true descriptor – is a vital social good. Let’s welcome that, too.

Chris Boothroyd,
Uplyme Road, Lyme Regis


The proposed lifeguard hut would be raised above the sand

‘Appalling’ to refuse permission for lifeguard hut

Friday, February 16 2018

I FIND it appalling that your councillors have refused permission for the RNLI lifeguard hut; these are neccessary for their use and are situated all round the coast. Shame on you.

John Hardy
By email