IT is with incredulity that I read about how planning permission to pull down a perfectly good bungalow, Cobb Gate, on Marine Parade, Lyme Regis, was slipped through without public consultation.
Lyme Regis Town Council unanimously objected to this planning application for the bungalow to be replaced by a new three-storey house “in the strongest possible terms.” But what happened next needs urgent investigation on behalf of every council taxpayer in our area.
The application did not go before West Dorset’s Planning Committee, so it could be discussed at length in a meeting open to the public. Instead, it was approved by “delegated powers” of the officers, taking into account the views of the chairman, Councillor Fred Horsington, who owns a diary farm near Dorchester. In other words, in secret with a notable lack of information.
So the town now faces the prospect of a splendid, structurally sound 1920s bungalow being demolished – without any geological report on landslips or potential dangers – along with the closure for months, possibly a year, of Marine Parade and Cart Road. This is utter madness.
No-one benefits, locals or the tens of thousands of tourists which are the lifeblood of Lyme, by such wholesale vandalism of the seafront.
But more disconcerting is the way this was levered through – against the unanimous wishes of our local council, which represents us all – and the sense of secrecy surrounding the details.
What is the point of Lyme Regis Town Council and all the councillors who serve on it? Why are we asked to vote for them if their views are so scornfully ignored? What is local democracy supposed to be about? And what was our district councillor doing? Asleep on the job? We should all be suspicious about the way a group of unelected officials have conspired to give approval.
If this crazy plan is allowed to go through, without further investigation or the fiercest of objections, it will be to the regret of the entire town and neighbouring villages.
We will all be helpless witnesses to the noise, dust and chaos during the best part of a year as this bungalow is demolished and a house constructed. And afterwards? We will be left with yet another blot on the seascape and questions about how we ever allowed it to happen.
Lower Sea Lane, Charmouth