Road closures refused for Lyme Regis parades

The Somers Day parade has been held in Lyme Regis for more than 40 years – it will still go ahead with a different format after this year’s road closure was refused

ROAD closures for two of Lyme Regis’ summer events have been turned down by Dorset Council, with one of the reasons given being increased traffic volume. 

Road closures in Broad Street have been refused for Lyme Morris Day on July 17, when morris dancing sides were expected to dance through the town centre, and the annual Somers Day Parade on July 21, which has taken place for more than 40 years except in wet weather and last year due to the pandemic.

The latter event commemorates former Mayor of Lyme Regis, Admiral Sir George Somers, who founded Bermuda after being shipwrecked on the islands on his way to the new English colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609.

Three guests from Lyme’s twin town of St George’s in Bermuda are expected to attend this year’s event, which organisers say will still go ahead in a different format to comply with Dorset Council’s decision.

The morris dancing event is also expected to continue, with dancing displays on the seafront.

Commenting on the decision to refuse the road closures, Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset Council ward member for Lyme and Charmouth, said: “Road closures for ‘special events’ are authorised under Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (RTFA).

“We consider all such events on a case by case basis, using a consistent approach across the Dorset Council area.”

Cllr Turner said the reasons the applications were refused were as follows:

  1. These events could be held elsewhere either on or off the highway
  2. There is not a diversion route around the closure that is appropriate for all traffic that would expect to travel on an A road. National guidelines determine that a diversion should be to an equal or higher classification of road.

Cllr Turner added: “Also, we have had to consider that with the COVID restrictions on foreign travel, we are already seeing higher numbers of visitors to the county which impacts on traffic volumes, especially in our coastal towns.”

The refusal has raised questions over whether other summer events, such as the carnival procession, will go ahead as normal but no decision has been made on this yet.

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