Seafront information point is a must

marine parade shelters
The Jubilee Pavilion on Marine Parade

OCCASIONALLY we take our LymeOnline promotional stand to local events, not just to distribute more papers but to meet our readers.

It’s always nice to hear what our readers think about the paper and website and their comments are mostly complimentary.

It always amazes me how many visitors follow us online as regular readers of our digital edition. They say they love to keep in touch with all that’s happening in their favourite holiday destination.

One visitor who has a holiday home in the town and comes to Lyme several times a year said he looks forward every week to reading about what was happening in Lyme.

Ex-pats also read our digital edition to keep in touch with their hometown.

It’s also amazing that when we are manning our promotional stand how many people come up to us for information about the town and its amenities.

During the most busy weeks – Lifeboat Week and the Regatta and Carnival, town crier and regatta secretary Alan Vian, helped by his wife Lynn, spend a good deal of their time helping visitors with their enquiries as well as their organisational duties.

Lyme no longer has a Tourist Information Centre, much missed by the holiday trade following its closure by Dorset Council, who leased office accommodation in Guildhall Cottage, home of Lyme Regis Town Council.

The town council is now using that space for much needed office accommodation to fall in line with national legislation, especially for the disabled.

Following the closure of the TIC there was some talk about the town council operating an outreach service during the summer months so that information was available on the seafront.

I think it’s time that this proposal was investigated again.

The council is not short of a penny and it could be a part-time job in the winter and a full-time position in the summer, supplemented by volunteers at weekends.

Both Francesca and I used to be part of the volunteer team led by Chris Boothroyd.

He was the man who virtually single handedly raised £200,000 to equip the Jubilee Pavilion with hi-tech information equipment and also managed the volunteers to man the operation throughout the summer.

Chris was appallingly treated by a previous council and what was a really useful public service petered out.

With the TIC closed, that service is needed more than ever and I am sure there are a number of volunteers who would offer their services again.

Marine Parade map
One place you can find limited information on Lyme Regis is the map of the town at the top of the Marine Parade, which also promotes the town council’s new interactive website, The Lyme Regis Discovery Trail

The Jubilee Pavilion is now a glorified storeroom and base for the council’s Marine Parade staff. That’s a terrible waste of public money.

The town council was heavily criticised for not doing more to save the TIC.

Here’s an opportunity to provide a low-cost information service which all seaside towns should have.

The council has invested heavily in an inter-active website and discovery trail to replace the outdated holiday guide.

In doing so, the council should reinvest those savings on manning an information point in the Jubilee Pavilion.

‘Aggressive and rude’ diners now the norm?

AS expected with the explosion in staycation holidays, Lyme has experienced one of its most busy summer seasons.

Some outlets are reporting a record summer. But it has not been without its problems.

The hospitality trade has had to deal with a nationwide lack of staff which has caused a number to adjust their hours accordingly and even close on certain days of the week.

Others have been forced to close during peak periods because of COVID-19.

During the first lockdown there were reports that shop staff were having to deal with unacceptable aggressive behaviour from some customers, frustrated by the many rules imposed on them by the epidemic regulations.

Despite the fact that restrictions have been dramatically reduced as we slowly return to normal, it would seem that such crass behaviour is still very much in evidence.

In his regular blog for customers, Mark Hix has drawn attention to the amount of rudeness and aggression his staff at The Oyster and Fish House in Lister Gardens are having to put up with.

As reported this week by LymeOnline, Mr Hix writes: “My team work very hard, and very long hours so I really don’t like hearing that they have been reduced to tears over a lunch booking that we cannot accommodate or someone getting angry that we don’t have a particular shellfish on that day – because it hasn’t been caught.

“If I am there at the time, I will happily tell these people what I think, as I will simply not tolerate such behaviour towards my Hix family. Sadly, as you will have read in the press, it’s becoming the norm.”

Other hospitality outlets in the town have reported similar incidents.

One would expect that a restaurant like The Oyster and Fish House would attract the type of clientele that would not act in such a way.

Another Lyme business, the extremely popular Town Mill Bakery, also used social media to reveal how their staff had been abused because they did not have enough room to accommodate a large party.

They then went on Trip Advisor to give the bakery low approval rates.

Do we put this down to the frustration of being in lockdown for so long, or is it sheer bad manners that seem to be more common as the years pass?

Candles On The Cobb is returning next year

Photo by Ben Kapur

I AM pleased to see that the Rotary Cub of Lyme Regis, as active as ever, has decided to organise another Candles On The Cobb next year.

Now one of Lyme’s iconic events, which attracts thousands of people to the town, Candles On The Cobb was the brainchild of Phil Street and Mike Higgs who organised the spectacle for several years.

I compered the first few events and was taken with the emotion of the crowd who had bought a candle to remember a loved one.

On one of these occasions, we got all those sitting on the bank in Lister Gardens to turn on the light on their mobile phones just before the two minute’s silence as they watched their candle fluttering in the breeze on the Cobb.

It was extremely moving.

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