Lyme is becoming a laughing stock

guildhallTHE egregious behaviour of town councillors is rapidly making Lyme Regis into a laughing stock. Wherever I go, people – usually with a big grin on their face – ask me: “What is the matter with your council?”

For too many years Lyme has been plagued by the crass behaviour of successive councils.

Many are starting to ask whether Lyme Regis Town Council is fit for purpose. Those of you who listened to the recording of last week’s council meeting on the LymeOnline website would say that it is not.

Those of you who have not listened to it, I advise you to do so. I was not at the council meeting but when I listened to the recording afterwards I was flabbergasted that such behaviour was still going on in the chamber after the Mayor, Cllr Brian Larcombe asked – pleaded – with them to desist.

Some people found it amusing. My first feeling was one of embarrassment.

There are some good people on the council. And there are the others… the fact is that Lyme deserves better.

The town is one of the most popular resorts along the south coast. Families visit our town year after year. Some yearn to live in such a beautiful place; it’s their life’s dream.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that sheer hatred exists in the Guildhall. The distressing thing is that there would seem to be no way of dealing with such behaviour; no recourse to law.

The council has come through this pandemic – a hugely difficult time for the mayor and town clerk John Wright – with flying colours and more than a million pounds in reserves.

Financially, they are the envy of many other local authorities, none of whom would swap bank accounts if they had to take on Lyme’s reputation.

Such shenanigans in the Guildhall make life very difficult for council staff, especially the senior officers. Who would want to work in such an a toxic environment?

It is important that council staff don’t get sucked in to supporting one faction against the other.

It greatly impacts, also on the good work that the council does – and there are many examples if you look close enough.

As per usual, there are a few misguided individuals who blame LymeOnline for providing the oxygen of publicity that feeds those who court notoriety, accusing us of being “muckrakers”.

That’s not the actual word they use but you will get my drift. No other newspaper takes any interest in Lyme council.

The Bridport News rarely sends anyone to cover council meetings and the Midweek Herald reporters (what’s left of them) are like the Olympic torch – they never go out.

Can you imagine how some councillors might act if our reporter was not present? I can assure you, however, we will continue reporting council meetings and hope matters improve.

I confess I have no quick solution to the problem. We can only hope that our councillors see sense, bury their animosities and start representing the people of Lyme Regis with dignity and pride.

Woodmead Halls

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