TOWN councillors are hoping to improve disabled access on the beach in Lyme Regis.
Members of the Town Management & Highways Committee have agreed to introduce rubber matting on Cobb Gate pebble beach, to provide easier access to the shoreline, and will hire out wheelchairs for use on the seafront.
The suggestion came from the council’s seafront attendant, having seen the success of the council’s two beach wheelchairs and flotation wheelchair which are currently available for hire.
Councillor Richard Doney, who has advocated improved disabled access around the town, spoke in favour of the proposals.
He said that other some beaches, including Beer in East Devon, provided similar rubber matting to the shoreline made from pre-owned conveyor belts, which he described as robust and easy to get hold of.
Councillor Stan Williams said there used to be similar matting on the pebble beach in Lyme, which was provided from a quarry. Councillor Jeff Scowen added: “It’s inexpensive and it provides access for wheelchairs; it’s a no brainer.”
Councillor Michaela Ellis said rubber matting would not only benefit the disabled but parents with pushchairs. However, her suggestion that the matting should not be restricted to the pebble beach and should also be provided on the sand was met with criticism from other councillors.
She commented: “We need to do something with the sandy beach because it has been raised by some people that it’s hard to get their buggies on there. We have to think about parents with young children, as well as disabled people. Let’s be inclusive shall we?”
Councillor Scowen replied: “Come on, we don’t want black rubber matting on the sand. Why don’t we just concrete it all over? I’m sorry Michaela, no. Two or three over the pebbles, like they have at Beer, is perfect but please, not on the sand.”
It was agreed to approach quarries to find suitable black matting and to purchase two normal wheelchairs for use on the seafront, to add to the council’s existing beach wheelchairs and floatation chair.