21 May 2020

Lyme Regis gradually eases itself out of lockdown - car parks and toilets re-open

Lyme Regis gradually eases itself out of lockdown

SOME car parks and toilets in Lyme Regis will re-open for the Bank Holiday weekend as the town eases itself out of lockdown.

Three main car parks and two seafront toilet blocks will be open, along with some other local services and facilities resuming, but with social distancing measures in place for the public’s protection.

Lyme Regis Town Council has decided to open Monmouth Beach and Woodmead car parks, as well as the toilets on Marine Parade, supported by Dorset Council which will open Holmbush car park and one other toilet block.

The decision to open car parks has been taken ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend to keep parking on residential streets to a minimum and to ease traffic build-up as vehicles look for parking.

Park and ride will not be operating due to the difficulty in maintaining social distancing on the buses.

The public health need to open public toilets, particularly the requirement for regular hand-washing, has influenced the council’s decision to open the seafront facilities.

To protect the public, there will be a heightened cleaning regime, hand sanitiser will be made available at key points, people will be encouraged to use phone and pay parking or contactless payments, and signs about social distancing and other advisory notices will be highly visible.

The beach, which has remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, is open as usual, but social distancing will be encouraged and people will asked to consider using outlying beaches and the seafront gardens.

Although the town is gradually being re-opened, people are still asked to think carefully about visiting Lyme Regis.

The mayor, Cllr Brian Larcombe said: “Although the restrictions have been relaxed and the government has stated people can travel to beach destinations, we need to respect the social distancing measures in place and remain alert, while also adapting to the changing situation.

“The town council is trying to navigate its way through this by gradually re-opening services and facilities to support the local economy and the wider national efforts to emerge from this global pandemic, but our priority is the safety and health of our residents.

“That is why we are asking visitors to consider the local community before travelling to Lyme Regis and please don’t expect things to be the same as before, as many services and facilities remain closed.

“If you do come to Lyme Regis, please act responsibly, observe social distancing guidance, and adhere to the measures put in place for the safety of yourselves and others.”

Many of the town and seafront businesses remain closed and there are no seafront activities operating, such as trampolines, kayaking and deckchairs.

All beach hut bookings in May have been cancelled and bookings in June are now under review.

The town council’s amenities’ area – mini golf, table tennis and putting green – will remain closed, as well as the town’s two play parks at Anning Road and Henry’s Way and the public toilets at Anning Road playing field.

There will be no market stalls or performances in the Marine Parade Shelters and Jazz Jurassica, which was scheduled to take place this weekend, has been cancelled.

The skatepark at Charmouth Road car park will re-open, in line with the government’s advice that some outdoor leisure activities can resume, but users must act responsibly and follow social distancing and safety advice.

Legislation continues to prohibit people from staying overnight at any place that isn’t their main home, so no overnight stays will be allowed at the chalet and caravan park in the Monmouth Beach area.

However, people are now permitted to use their chalets and caravans during the day so the council has relaxed the rules to allow this.

The day huts on Monmouth Beach can also be used, but privately-owned huts on Marine Parade are out of bounds due to the difficulty in maintaining social distancing on a narrow part of the seafront.

All accesses to the cemetery have re-opened, but restrictions remain in place for the numbers allowed to attend burials.

The council offices remain closed, in line with government advice to work at home if possible, but the external works’ team has returned to work this week to support the re-opening of the town.

There are no plans to resume council meetings yet, but plans are being put in place for a virtual meeting in early-June.

The town bus, service 71, will not resume operating for the time being, due to social distancing requirements and economic viability.

All weddings at the Guildhall in May have been cancelled and ceremonies in June are under review in consultation with Dorset Registration Service.