Is there a solution to Lyme’s traffic chaos?

Dozens of buses, mainly double deckers, and coaches pass through Lyme’s narrow streets every day. Should this number be reduced or attempts made to avoid them passing at the same time?

We want to hear your views on how to make our streets safer

LYME Regis has survived another summer of traffic chaos without any major incidents, bar from the Guildhall window and nearby properties being damaged by pantechnicons which should never be passing through the summer.

Successive councils over the years have attempted to come up with a solution to the ever-increasing danger of so many vehicles passing through the town – but none have succeeded.

So are we to assume there is no solution and we will have to endure the danger of heavy vehicles and public transport vehicles clogging up our narrow streets, with the increased pollution, for ever more?

Or can the present town council make this problem a major objective and determine to find a solution? If so, it will require some thinking outside the box.

As a young reporter I can remember Councillor Stan Williams, the father of Lyme council, standing for a seat on the old borough council on a platform of introducing a one-way system for Lyme Regis. At that time the volume of traffic in the town was a good deal less than it is now. Stan has been banging that drum for more than 50 years but still with no success.

I was encouraged that more serious consideration was being given to this problem when the council announced it was commissioning a traffic survey following the loss of the park and ride at Sidmouth Road, at a cost of £25,000, to be followed by public consultation. It turned out to be no more than a parking survey which told us very little that we did not already now. A total waste of public money.

So in the absence of an official public consultation, we thought it would be a good idea if we asked our readers to come up with some possible ideas to improve the traffic situation.

We are seeking your views and possible solutions which can be forwarded to us by email or by post (see box on the right). Please include your name and address and, on this occasion, we are happy to withhold your name and address from print if you would prefer.

Here are some of the issues and suggestions highlighted in the past:

One way system: This has been considered on a number of occasions and dismissed as not being possible. If such a system was introduced, it would almost certainly have to send traffic along Anning Road and up Woodmead Road which would be impossible for large vehicles and buses. All buses having to enter the town from Hunters Lodge, travelling through Uplyme, and then return by the same route to continue into Dorset via the A 35, has also been dismissed as impractical.

Move the traffic lights: It has often been suggested that the traffic lights in Church Street should be moved back to the former London Inn. County highways officials have discarded this, idea, saying the distance between the lights and the adjoining roads, would cause unacceptable tailbacks.

Coach parties: An increasing problem with Lyme being a popular destination for day trippers, especially with those from overseas visiting the West Country. These usually let their passengers alight in The Square before finding parking at Holmbush. One coach company now stops outside the Post Office, at the bus stop, often causing major congestion.

Public transport: Dozens of double decker buses travel through Lyme every day and often meet in the narrowest part of Church Street. Are so many buses required and, in these days of sophistocated communication, surely it would be possible to avoid this? The Charmouth park and ride is also serviced by double deckers and the bus company First were the only ones interested in providing the service. There are plans to move the bus stop outside of the Co-Op further up Broad Street, near to the entrance of Sherborne Lane, as used to be the case. This would certainly help congestion at the top of the town.

Delivery vans: Early-morning delivery by large vehicles are usually the norm but occasionally they arrive later in the day which causes difficulties. Can tougher controls be introduced to prevent this?

Parking in Broad Street: There are limited spaces in the main street which enables people to park and pop into the shops; also convenient for the disabled and infirm. The number of spaces will be reduced by five spaces when the new pedestrian crossing is installed next year which many think will slow down the traffic even more.

Better signage: A crucial requirement which the town council are working on to avoid heavy vehicles passing through Lyme unnecessarily, especially at Hunters Lodge which would also relieve the number of vehicles passing through Uplyme.

These are just a few observations to get you thinking about the problem. Let us have your views, no matter how revolutionary. Perhaps we need an extreme resolution to the dilemma.


Email your views to or send them by post to LymeOnline, Unit 5, Uplyme Business Park, Uplyme Road, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3LS

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About Philip Evans 721 Articles
Veteran journalist and newspaper manager Philip Evans has worked in the publishing industry for more than half a century. He started out as a reporter for Pulman’s Weekly News as a young man and went on to work for an international publishing company in the UK, South Africa and Australia before returning to Lyme Regis where he is still reporting on local events as he has done for more than 53 years.

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