THE Cart Road in Lyme Regis has been temporarily closed to drivers to allow space for social distancing.
The new measures mean that disabled blue badge holders cannot currently park on the seafront, but four new disabled spaces have been opened in Cobb Gate car park in addition to the one that was already in place.
Dorset Council has introduced measures across the county to ensure high streets and busy areas can reopen safely and successfully following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The council was given a £335,000 portion of the government’s £50million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, used to introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops.
Cllr Gary Suttle, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Economic Growth and Skills, said: “Dorset Council has been working hard to implement various measures on the county’s high streets, designed to help shoppers stay safe.”
These measures have included:
- Stencilled markings and signs around busy areas, including bus stops, helping people to observe social-distancing
- Widening footways and cycleways by temporarily closing parking bays and cutting back vegetation
- Scheduled partial road closures to provide more space for pedestrians, especially around food huts and vans
- Creating additional cycle parking and new cycle routes
- In the longer-term, pedestrianising busy areas with large numbers of cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars
This work is ongoing, so spend is not yet finalised, but rough estimates of how the funding has been spent are currently as follows:
- £140k – highways work (as outlined above)
- £50k – economic development work, in conjunction with town councils
- £50k – communications and marketing (‘Stay Local, Shop Local’ campaign)
- £100k – allocated for work related to the re-opening of the hospitality sector in early July
In Lyme Regis, as well as closing the Cart Road to drivers, the town council has been offered street dressing assets as part of a ‘Stay Local, Shop Local’ campaign launched by Dorset Council.
However, the decision to close the Cart Road to drivers has not proved universally popular.
One resident wrote to LymeOnline, commenting: “Are we seriously stopping 20 disabled drivers, their carers, their family members from enjoying the seafront free for a couple of hours and asking them to pay for the now only five total disabled spaces in the car park?
“This must be an error made by people who are not disabled or do not know how the disabled struggle. Suggestions it’s to allow social distancing on Marine Parade is flawed as you are now going to funnel people through the barriers closing off the access – ridiculous.
“If this is a new, quietly pushed through council policy it’s a case of discrimination and needs to be escalated.”