Film crews add to parking tensions at Lyme Regis harbour

Carriages and horses were parked on the newly-extended slipway at Lyme Regis harbour during filming last week

TENSIONS over parking in the harbour area of Lyme Regis were heightened last week when film crews descended on the town. 

Issues over parking were said to be made worse last week as film crews arrived at the historic Cobb harbour to film scenes for the Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’, starring ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ actress Dakota Johnson.

The film crews took over several parking areas with vehicles and horse-drawn carriages, which left harbour users “feeling a bit tense”, according to Lyme Regis’ harbour consultative committee chairman Chris Turner.

He told last week’s Dorset Harbours Committee meeting: “There were lots of cameramen and vehicles and a few people got a bit stressed about it, but there was plenty of space for everyone in the end.”

Councillors heard that applications are being made for parking orders around the harbour, which will allow the harbourmaster and his team to take enforcement action against poor parking in addition to Dorset Council’s traffic wardens.

Lyme Regis Town Council has also raised general concerns about illegal or hazardous parking around the town in recent weeks and will be looking into this further at a future meeting.

Mr Turner told the meeting that Lyme Regis harbour now had its mooring pontoons out in readiness for the season and the work on the slipway extension had been completed.

He said many activities, such as water polo, and some sailing activities had been either cancelled or restricted by COVID restrictions, although there had been an increase in open water swimming and the use of small boats in the area, together with an influx of visitors.

Commercial vessel capacity at the harbour currently stands at 100 per cent with private moorings at 92 per cent, up from 80 per cent last year.

The town’s lifeboat crew is reported to have had a busy start to the year with 12 call outs so far, including several people cut off by the tide, reports of distress flares along the coast, a swimmer in trouble, the medical evacuation of a commercial fisherman and a gig capsize.

The lifeboat station had been closed to visitors since March 2020 and there have been no RNLI events since then, although Lifeboat Week is expected to take place this year between July 24 and 31.

By Local Democracy Reporter Trevor Bevins

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