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Lyme Regis park and ride saved by town council
The town council has been forced to step in to stump up cash towards the bus service after Dorset County Council withdrew its subsidy under its programme of budget cuts.
The town’s strategy and policy committee agreed to allocate up to £6,000 from the 2014/2015 budget to appoint a coach operator to continue running the service.
Town Clerk John Wright told the councillors: “What used to happen was Dorset County Council made an allocation of £11,000 to one of the coach operators to find another coach operator to run the Charmouth Road site, who would then be given £5,700.
“What we would be doing, if this is passed, is provide the finance direct to the operator, so we will only pay the £5,700. We have a very good working relationship with the current coach operator who ran the Charmouth Road site.”
The Charmouth Road site was described as councillors as “very important” to the town in its fight to reduce the traffic congestion which can blight the town during the summer season.
Coun Lucy Campbell said: “I believe it’s a key facility in the town, and though it is not ideal to mop up from the county council, we should do all we can to keep it and not lose it.”
There was some debate about whether the allocated funds should be given directly to the Charmouth Road site, or if it should be given a town-wide park and ride scheme, which would include both the Charmouth Road and the Sidmouth Road site.
Coun Anita Williams said: “We need to see the figures of the park and ride site because they may make a £30,000 profit each year that we don’t know about, and could we put the money into both park and ride sites rather than just the one on the one side of the town.”
Coun Campbell added: “Even though I agree with Coun Williams in that maybe we should look at the figures and review the park and ride in the town, I think on this instance we should agree to the recommendation so that we definitely keep it for next year, and then review it after that.”
Coun Mark Gage said: “It is essential we have both. It is unfortunate that we are clearing up after the county council but in order to protect this vital service we need to back this park and ride service.”
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