Town council outlines its five-year plan

BECOMING debt free, refurbishing the seafront gardens and a number of environmental initiatives are among Lyme Regis Town Council’s objectives for the next five years.

Members of the recently-elected town council will finalise their proposed objectives for the coming five years at a meeting on Wednesday, September 4 before putting them to public consultation.

These will form the bulk of the council’s work up until 2025, including the first year of the next council administration, which will be elected in May 2024.

Councillors held an ‘away day’ in June, which resulted in the first draft of objectives and their target completion dates being put together. These focussed heavily on the council’s recent decision to declare a climate emergency, with priorities now split into environmental and non-environmental initiatives.

Non-environmental objectives include the council becoming debt free by 2023/24, which would mean repaying its loan from the former West Dorset District Council – now absorbed by the new Dorset Council – which was used to pay for the Marine Parade shelters refurbishment.

The council also plans to refurbish Langmoor and Lister Gardens – the condition of which some members have been highly critical of in recent weeks – from 2020/21 onwards.

The planned refurbishment of the council offices at Guildhall Cottage is also among the priorities for 2020/21, as well as building seafront urinals, a suggestion that follows the opening of the town’s first unisex toilets on Marine Parade, which are said to be increasing queueing times.

Councillors are also intending to develop a plan for the future of the seafront shelters – currently an underused space with the Jubilee Pavilion closed most of the time – and Strawberry Fields off Charmouth Road, which the council holds a 999-year lease for and is set aside for recreational use.

Other objectives include organising a residents’ weekend in 2020/21; developing a community engagement strategy (2019/20); re-launching the residents’ Gateway Card discount scheme (2019/20); and implementing an asset strategy (from 2020/21 onwards).

The environmental initiatives include replacing all council vehicles with electric over the next five years, with members having recently agreed to purchase their first electric vehicle.

Other priorities include installing water points on the seafront (2020/21); introducing a free town bus service to cut down on traffic (2020/21); moving to green energy providers and ethical investors (2019/20); becoming an electronic office (2021/22); working with Low Carbon Dorset (2019/20 and 2020/21); adding recycling signage to bins (2019/2020); installing solar panels on the former cadet hut behind Anning Road, now used as a council store (2025 and beyond); introducing a carbon car parking levy (2023/24); an environmental office refurbishment (2020/21); promoting environmental initiatives over the next five years; introducing electric charging points from 2020/21 onwards; and developing a business case for water loss (2020/21).

After the council agrees on a final list of objectives, detailed costings for each project will be undertaken and completion dates for those falling in 2020/21 will be agreed.

The objectives will then be put to public consultation, with an open day at the Woodmead Halls planned for late September or early October, as well as a questionnaire for Lyme Voice, a group of residents randomly selected from the electoral roll. Residents will also be able to write to the town clerk with their observations and suggestions.

The public will have the opportunity to support or reject the objectives, as well as identify their own priorities.

The objectives are then expected to be given final approval by full council in November before members set the budget for the next financial year and release their corporate plan.

Woodmead Halls

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