Request for ‘war trench’ in seafront gardens turned down

lister gardens
Lister Gardens in Lyme Regis

TOWN councillors have spoken strongly against a request to build a trench in Lyme Regis’ public gardens in Lyme Regis to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

The town will be hosting a number of events to mark the 100th anniversary later this year and a working group has been set up to move plans forward. The working group put forward a suggestion that a trench could be created in the seafront gardens, to teach children about the conditions soldiers endured during WWI.

It was suggested that the trench would be 15 metres in length, 1.5 metres deep and 1.5 metres wide, and could be created near the table tennis area in Lister Gardens. It would be supervised by town crier Alan Vian, who operates a similar trench at educational centre Hooke Court, near Beaminster.

However, councillors spoke strongly against the idea, with one saying it would be a “disaster”. Chairman of the Tourism, Community & Publicity Committee, Councillor Cheryl Reynolds, said: “I have been very concerned about this. I’m concerned about the width, depth and length of it. It’s going to be Heras-fenced at night; we had Heras fencing in the playing fields, that got broken into. The gardens is the wrong place.”

Councillor Reynolds said she had taken advice from the council’s geotechnical engineer, Peter Chapman, who had told her it was a “very bad idea” and the stabilisation works in the gardens should be left alone. She also expressed concerns that the trench could not be properly policed at night.

“I’m not against any WWI effort or the committee, but I’m just scared it will cause lots of problems. It’s scary,” she added.

Councillor Graham Turner commented: “The gardens are moving slightly all over the place now. If you dug a trench like that it would be a disaster.”

Councillors unanimously agreed to refuse the request. However, they agreed that Union flags could be displayed in Broad Street for the commemorations.

Woodmead Halls

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