THE Mayor of Lyme Regis has written to owners of holidays lets and second homes to tell them they will be welcomed back to the town when the time is right.
Councillor Brian Larcombe MBE has sent letters to many holiday let owners assuring them that they are a valued part of the community and that property owners and their guests will be welcome to return when the coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
The current government guidelines mean that people can now travel to Lyme Regis from all over the country but cannot stay overnight.
Councillor Larcombe’s decision to send out letters came after some owners of holiday lets and second homes became the target of abuse by residents who were concerned about the spread of coronavirus.
Some property owners have reported abusive letters being posted through their doors and, in one case, a window was smashed.
Councillor Larcombe was interviewed on BBC Radio Solent this week, when he described the abuse as “short sighted”.
He said: “We understand the concerns people have about the virus spreading and so on, but what we’re saying is that holiday lets are valued in the town, the owners of these properties are valued and when the time is right we would look to welcome people into those holiday lets and into the town, because they’re an important part of the town’s economy.”
Radio host Steve Harris said it was a “breath of fresh air” for Lyme to acknowledge the issues caused by second home owners but also recognising the “great deal of good” they do for the town’s economy.
The mayor continued: “In the present times we understand the concerns but there can be an undercurrent about second homes and holiday lets. To be fair, a lot of seaside places like Lyme Regis have seen the number of small guest houses and hotels decline over the decades and that has been replaced by holiday lets.
“These employ a lot of people for maintenance and upkeep and the people that stay in them bring a lot of welcome income to the town’s economy. It’s another form of holiday accommodation and that’s the important point in all of this.
“We have seen Lyme in a different light during lockdown and I imagine a lot of towns across the South West are the same in that it’s given us plenty of quiet, open beaches and people who do visit from the local radius respect social distancing.
“I foresee a UK stay at home holiday boom next year, all being well, and that can only be good for the whole region.”