TOWN councillors in Lyme Regis are considering replacing the roof surface on the Marine Parade shelters because water is leaking into the businesses below – but it could cost as much as £130,000.
A report from town clerk John Wright presented to the Town Management Committee last night revealed that the roof, last replaced about 50 years ago, was coming to the end of its useful life and The Bay restaurant, now being renamed SWiM under new ownership, and the Amusement Arcade had reported problems with water ingress.
Mr Wright said that before the council committed money towards renewing the roof, it should consider what it wanted to use the area for future use would determine the specification and cost of a new roof.
He said options included using the whole of the area as a separate outdoor café or as an additional sitting-out area for an existing restaurant or café.
Commercial use would require a higher specification covering but costs could be recovered through either a rent-free period and/or rental income.
Mr Wright said the roof space could also be used as a public viewing area with seating and such a project could attract funding from the Section 106 planning gain monies.
The cost of a liquid resin system suitable for commercial and public use would cost £130 per square metre, totaling £130,000. The cost per square metre for stripping and re-asphalting would be £50 (total £50,000).
Ban on skateboarding?
Cllr Cheryl Reynolds said they had talked often about commercial use such as a pop-up cinema, which the council was considering, and outside events and if this was the case the surface would have to be “fit for purpose”.
The Mayor, Cllr Michaela Ellis, said the surface had needed repair for quite a while. Grit was put down on the roof many years ago to stop skateboarders using it and she urged the council to do the job properly now. She would like to see a surface that could be used as a viewing platform but also for charity events as it was many years ago.
“To do this we need to put a skateboarding ban on that area,” she said.
“This is something I said we always wanted when we got a skatepark.”
Cllr Jeff Scowan said he totally agreed with Cllrs Reynolds and Ellis, adding: “Let’s just go for it. I am sure it will be used and we want to use it because it is such a good platform, so let’s just do it properly with the correct materials.”
Cllr Brian Larcombe said there was such a range of things the space could be opened to but the council had not looked at the scope or scale of what they intended to do with the area. If they put a new surface down it was not just skateboarding they had to consider but also kids kicking balls on the top of the shelters.
He said: “Just remember that beneath that we are going to have an extended café. We had problems with stuff falling over last summer and we are going to have to think about the railings as well to present stuff going over the edge.”
Deputy Mayor Stephen Miller said that with the unitary authority going ahead the town council were going to have to look at new revenue streams.
He wanted to know whether there was a distinctive wear difference and sustainability between the two surfaces suggested. Asphalt now lasted for 40-50 years and there was not much difference between the two and he questioned whether there was enough differential between the two surfaces to sustain another £80,000.
The town clerk said it was important for members to tell the officers where to go with this project. One suggestion he had was to have glass panels and if the area was used as an amenity area he was sure they could tap into the Section 106 money.
He added: “We could also go for a complete commercialisation of the area. We need to know what the council wants in a bit more detail.”
‘Brilliant’ viewing area
Cllr Larcombe said: “With regard to commercialisation, I think what John has outlined as a viewing area is brilliant. I would not be in favour of that area for commercialisation.”
Mr Wright said they could come back with designs for the council to consider and a recommendation for the best surface to use.
Cllr Ellis said she thought they should go down that route and to see whether they could get some Section 106 money for using the top of the shelters as a public viewing area and for use by local organisations.
Cllr Richard Doney said he was also in favour of it being public viewing area, adding: “I think it is a great place for people to come and enjoy with occasional use for events like Food Rocks.”
Cllr Stan Williams said he agreed with what had been said was he was against what was happening on the Marine Parade, pointing out the number of vehicles which were now allowed on the seafront.
Last quality seafront area
Cllr Larcombe said he was impressed by the town clerk’s suggestion for glass screens with attractive railings because it would stop stuff shooting over the edge. He was “dead against” commercialisation of this area, reminding councillors that it was the “last quality seafront area” they had.
He added: “We have to hang into this because it is a proper asset.”
Assistant town clerk Mark Green warned councillors that glass screens would be very expensive.
Cllr Reynolds said: “What they have to appreciate about commercialisation is that lots of events happen in Lyme and more events will happened in the next 20 years when we w all be six feet under so therefore we need to think about what it might be used for in the future.”
Cllr Scowen: “Not me Cheryl!”
Cllr Larcombe said he had no problems with events being held on the top of the shelters.
It was agreed to carry out temporary repairs of the roof, to stop the leaking, and to look into a complete refurbishment of roof complete with railings and design options.