Still time to have your say on Royal College of Art’s research project

THE Royal College of Art’s community engagement and transport planning project is continuing to invite comments about its initial findings on Lyme Regis and is interested to hear views from as many people as possible.

Lyme Regis was one of three rural communities chosen for a prestigious research project, with the aim of aims to reimagining public spaces and transport systems in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Having listened to the views of those who have taken part in the project so far, the Royal College of Art (RCA) created a visualisation of what might be possible in the town, described as a ‘Lyme Regis Utopia’, which they hope could provide solutions for one of the town’s biggest issues – traffic congestion and lack of parking.

The ‘Lyme Regis Utopia’ (pictured above) shows an image of the Cobb Gate area adapted with open green spaces, wider pavements and limited traffic to create a “bustling public realm”.

In contrast, the RCA has also created a ‘Lyme Regis Dystopia’ based on people’s concerns, showing the same area of Cobb Gate with packed crowds, busy roads and no green space.

Outlining their hopes and ambitions for the community, those taking part in the project listed green, clean and inclusive spaces; more social activities including leisure and sport; better transport connections and reduced traffic in the town centre; affordable housing for young generations; not to become overly reliant on tourism; a solution to litter problems; and a greater variety of jobs.

The main issues raised were regarding traffic, congestion and parking, with Broad Street and Church Street the main areas of concern, as well as environmental issues and isolation.

The RCA is now looking at ‘Barriers to Change’ and is asking residents to keep sharing their views so the project researchers can gain insights into where their stakeholders – which include the Transport Planning Society; Royal Town Planning Institute; Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation; National Association of Local Councils; SUSTRANS; Living Streets; the RAC Foundation and the Centre for Ageing Better – can help promote processes which enable wide community involvement in planning for the future of towns and villages.

Funding is currently being sought for continuation of the project beyond the presentation of the final findings to be released on Sustainable Transport Day on November 16.

Town councillor Belinda Bawden, who has been promoting the project locally, said: “Please get involved – this is a real chance to be listened to about the challenges we face and the visions we have for the future.”

There are a number of ways residents can share their view – you could choose the original survey, the ‘Barriers to Change’ survey, join Zoom meetings or email and phone to talk to the research team. In particular, researchers would be keen to hear the views of younger people and anyone with different mobility experiences.

Those interested in getting involved should contact Belinda Bawden on 01297 443739 or email belindabawden@gmail.com, or Cheryl Reynolds on 01297 443814 or email cherylreynolds1947@gmail.com.

Woodmead Halls
About Francesca Evans 2527 Articles
Francesca grew up in Lyme Regis and has worked in community journalism in the area since 2011, having gained a First Class Honours degree in journalism and her NCTJ qualifications at Southampton Solent University.

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