The COVID pandemic has changed the way we work

IT has been five months since our last column and the pandemic has changed the way the council works – perhaps forever.

This seems like a good opportunity to provide an update on how we’re operating at the moment and for the foreseeable future.

Like everyone else, we have had to find new ways of working and adapt to the government guidelines, while still maintaining the levels of service and democracy the public would expect of their local council.

Most of our services have re-opened but with some restrictions and COVID-19 secure measures in place – the ‘new normal’ as it’s now become commonly known.

The council continues to advocate the ‘stay alert’ message and we hope everyone enjoying the town will respect the guidance on social distancing, group sizes and hygiene.

As a quick reference, here are the services which are open:

  • All car parks
  • All public toilets
  • Mini golf, putting green and table tennis in Lister Gardens
  • Beach huts
  • Anning Road and Henry’s Way play parks
  • Skatepark
  • Markets in the Marine Parade Shelters
  • Town bus service (number 71)
  • Weddings at the Guildhall
  • Council offices
  • Beach wheelchairs

Although the council offices are open, the front door remains locked due to difficulties with social distancing in the reception area but please ring the doorbell or give us a call for assistance.

Some services remain closed, including Charmouth Road park and ride, which will not operate at all this year due to social distancing requirements and the service being financially unviable due to reduced passenger numbers.

Deckchairs and trampolines will not be allowed to operate until further notice and the United Beach Mission group, which runs children’s games and activities on the beach, will not be coming to Lyme Regis this year.

We have a dedicated coronavirus page on the town council website www.lymeregistowncouncil.gov.uk/coronavirus-updates which pulls together all the latest updates from the community, as well as links to other useful websites.

The council would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their patience and co-operation during the pandemic and the transition period as we have eased our way out of lockdown.

langmoor gardens
The wildflower bed in Langmoor Gardens has been well-received this summer (photo by Belinda Bawden)
Flower boxes on Marine Parade

Lyme is in full bloom for summer

NEW flower boxes on the seafront and revamped displays in the gardens have been attracting lots of compliments this summer.

Our gardening team has been working hard over the last year to improve the Langmoor and Lister Gardens after concerns from councillors and the public they were looking a bit neglected.

Now it seems all the hard work has paid off as the gardens and the seafront are blooming with colour and variety!

And it’s not gone unnoticed – we have received huge amounts of praise from the public, not just for the displays but also the passion and dedication of the gardeners who are only too happy to chat to people about their work.

Their mammoth task has included restoring 25 flower beds in the gardens, weeding by hand and filling in cracks in the paths.

One of the most well-received changes in the garden has been the planting of wildflowers at the top of the gardens. With the Cobb as a backdrop, it seems to have become one of the most photographed scenes in Lyme Regis this year.

We hope you agree it’s looking really lovely and if you’re yet to walk through the gardens and along the seafront, make sure you do while the displays are in full bloom.

Join us for a virtual meeting!

ONE of the major changes we have seen during the pandemic is the way we hold council meetings.

With restrictions still in place on public gatherings, like many other councils in the country we have been meeting virtually using an online video conferencing facility.

In the early stages of lockdown, members gave the town clerk the authority to make essential decisions in consultation with the mayor and this worked well initially.

As the restrictions began to ease and new legislation was put in place to enable councils to meet virtually, we decided to hold monthly virtual Full Council and Planning Committee meetings. This means the usual committee system is not in operation at the moment and it’s prompted us to think about the most productive way of conducting our business.

With the ability to hold virtual meetings, we hope it will improve democracy and public access to meetings as it’s easier than ever to listen and take part.

The agendas and details about how to access the meetings are available on our website www.lymeregistowncouncil.gov.uk

Council supporting litter free campaign

WE’RE supporting a Dorset-wide campaign to tackle littering and anti-social behaviour on our beaches.

‘Slam Dunk the Junk’ is led by Litter Free Coast and Sea, encouraging people to use the bins, or if they’re full, take their litter home.

As we have emerged from lockdown, there has been a noticeable increase in littering on Dorset’s beaches for various reasons, including people meeting outdoors more, less community beach cleans, and more takeaway food consumed as some cafes and restaurants have been unable to open.

While Lyme Regis has fortunately not witnessed the scenes of overcrowding and littering seen in some other coastal areas of Dorset, we want to keep it that way.

If you’ve been on the seafront lately you have probably seen the banners and posters encouraging people to ‘slam dunk the junk’ and it’s hoped a consistent campaign across Dorset will help hammer home the message.

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