Royal College of Art releases initial findings on Lyme Regis

AFTER announcing Lyme Regis was one of three rural communities chosen for a prestigious research project, the Royal College of Art has released its initial findings on the town.

This major new research project, led by the Royal College of Art (RCA), will reimagine public spaces and transport systems in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the current fragility of our interconnected world; from the importance of our local communities to the impacts on global trade, jobs and our natural environment. In response to this and wider challenges about the future, designers from the Royal College of Art (RCA) – supported by the professional bodies and private organisations – have come together to seek a better way forward.

Together with partners from councils, civil society and charities, the RCA has connected with three rural communities around England so that they can understand their beliefs, feelings and knowledge about their towns.

The three communities are Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, Haltwhistle and surrounding parishes in Northumberland, and Lyme Regis.

The college will be using residents’ experience and knowledge to develop a set of tools that will help them to reimagine how they can build their community together, improve the ways they get around their town as well as beyond and how they might share their ideas about the future in more collaborative and supportive ways.

In Lyme Regis, it is hoped the project could help find solutions for one of the town’s biggest issues – traffic congestion and lack of parking.

The RAC has now released a collection of highlights from the responses it has gained so far from the Lyme Regis community.

So who are “we” in Lyme Regis?

  • We are actively social
  • We are community focused
  • We value the history of our jurassic town
  • We value being close to nature, the coast and the countryside
  • We enjoy the quiet and slow pace of life

We value:

  • Our friendships, our neighbours and our homes
  • The countryside and our local activities
  • The kindness and empathy to understand each other
  • Our green space; our private and public gardens
  • Our coast and the views it provides

What drives us nuts is:

  • The congestion and parking
  • The streets that are not designed for pedestrians or cyclists
  • The litter that is left
  • The poor public transport; the timings and the cost
  • The cost of housing

What are the challenges that need to be overcome?

  • Integration and connection between neighbouring hubs, physically and socially
  • It was also highlighted that newcomers did not feel welcome. That there is a need for cross community integration
  • A greater balance between community and councils

How can we map people’s hopes and dreams as a projection for a thriving future?

  • Better connectivity and regular, affordable buses connecting to other towns
  • Improved park and ride network
  • Access to services and local, walkable hubs distributed throughout the community, 400m radius neighbourhood bubbles
  • There is a huge love of coastal and woodland walks that should be celebrated more
  • Bringing public spaces to life with more events and activities; town cinema, Marine Theatre, Marine Parade

The next stage of the Royal College of Art and partners’ community engagement and transport planning project is the publication of the survey findings and their assessment of the challenges and visions people have expressed next week.

The public, including community groups and organisations, will be invited to comment on the findings. In the meantime, the RCA particularly keen to hear from younger people and anyone with mobility issues.

Those who would like to share their ideas should contact Belinda Bawden on or Cheryl Reynolds on, or submit ideas at

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