LYME Regis Town Council has defended efforts to provide parking as the town features on a television documentary highlighting traffic chaos.
This week’s episode of Parking Mad, which airs tonight, Thursday, May 1, shows tourists being turned away during one of the busiest events of the year and police officers drafted in to re-direct traffic.
Thousands of people descended on the town to watch the Red Arrows perform during the Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week in July last year when the episode was filmed.
The documentary shows a number of people airing their concerns about how tourist trade could be turned away due to lack of parking.
Lucinda Cliff, former owner of Rinky Tinks ice cream parlour on the seafront, pictured below, has called for a comprehensive review of parking in Lyme Regis.
She said: “Parking during the summer is appalling and the show highlights that – we had people coming in the shop last year saying the same, who told us they are unlikely to return to Lyme.
“We want people to come to the town but if they can’t park or struggle to park then they are very unlikely to stay or come back here.
“The Park and Ride scheme is a really good idea but unfortunately is at least double the price of the car parks themselves.”
Police were even called in as back up on the busy weekend, as motorists searched for spaces and tried to park in places not categorised as parking bays.
Lyme Regis police officers Kirsti Ball and John Burton can also be seen redirecting traffic in the show’s preview.
However, people in Lyme Regis together with Lyme Regis Town Council have defended the town’s efforts to combat busy parking periods.
Tony Colson, chairman of the Lyme Regis business group, told the Lyme Regis News: “Parking is a challenge during busy periods like when the Red Arrows visit, but being a small seaside town built on top of coastal cliffs, Lyme Regis frankly does the best it can.
“For example, hundreds of extra parking spaces were available over the weekend of July 20 thanks to Lyme Regis Football Club opening its gates at Davey Fort.
“Losing a sizeable chunk of the Charmouth Road car park last year due to coastal protection work caused problems last summer and this Easter – but we will hopefully get that section back for use soon.
“The show is likely to highlight parking as problem once again but it is simply a challenge the town has, like many other towns across the UK.”
Cllr Chris Clipson, chairman of the Town Management Committee, said: “Parking in Lyme Regis can be difficult at times, particularly when the town is hosting major events, and even more so when we have good weather.
“We work very hard with our colleagues at West Dorset District Council and private Park and Ride operators to provide as many parking spaces as we can during the summer season, which is in excess of 2,000 spaces.”
Parking Mad will air at 9pm on BBC1.