A PROPOSED 350-home development on the outskirts of Lyme Regis shocked residents and councillors when plans were announced at a public exhibition.

Councillors have spoken out about the ‘skimpy and short’ notice given ahead of the exhibition and the fact that it was held at Woodmead Halls in Lyme Regis when the development is proposed on land over the border in East Devon.

Deputy mayor and chairman of the planning and highways committee on Lyme Regis Town Council Anita Williams, pictured right, said the ‘substantial’ development raised a number of concerns.

She said: “It was held at short notice and the Town Council was not consulted separately.

“The concern is that although the development is being proposed for East Devon, the demand for infrastructure would be in West Dorset.

“If there was a reasonable amount of social housing, which there ought to be in a development of that size, then Uplyme would not have sufficient local people to fill that. So there is a risk that people from the Devon housing list will be put into the area rather than people from Lyme Regis, who are in desperate need for housing because there is such a shortfall in West Dorset.”

The development is proposed for more than 17 hectares of land between Gore Lane and Shire Lane off the A3052.

Ian Thomas, East Devon District Councillor for the Trinity Ward, which includes Uplyme, asked why the exhibition was held at Woodmead Halls.

He said: “No one would doubt that anything that happens in Lyme Regis would impact Uplyme and vice versa, but this is a very prominent site within East Devon and the exhibition was held in Dorset.”

Cllr Thomas said he had spoken to a number of people who were concerned that the development, if it was to go ahead, could force a change in county borders, but he has confirmed with both district councils that there are no plans to do so.

A statement released by Uplyme Parish Council states: “Councillors were disappointed that such skimpy and short notice had been given, and wondered why the meeting wasn’t held in Uplyme despite previous contact from the Chairman, and also about the reason for the undue haste before plans demonstrating housing need were in force?”

The issue is set to be discussed at the next Lyme Regis Town Council planning and highways committee on Tuesday, May 6.

Cllr Williams said: “This is premature, because a planning application has not yet been submitted by the developers, but this is obviously a topic that will concern people so we wanted to give residents a chance to come and tell us their views.”

Collating feedback

ANDY Birch, area manager for Hallam Land Management, which put forward the proposals, said: “Hallam Land held a public exhibition on April 24 in relation to land on the west side of Lyme Regis.

“It was well attended by over 100 people and we are currently collating the feedback.

“We will then use the comments to work up a scheme to take on board ideas and suggestions.

“In general, as expected, feedback directly from the exhibition was mixed.

“Most comments related to the need for housing in Lyme Regis, with many saying that there simply wasn’t the need for new houses.

“A number of people expressed support for the affordable housing element of the scheme as it was felt Lyme Regis needs new and affordable houses to help maintain a social balance in the town. It was felt that new housing would improve opportunity for those who cannot afford houses at present to stay in the town.

“Other discussion points included community facilities; education; impact on the highway network; visual impact; local infrastructure; housing design; and walking routes into town. These matters, and others, will all be considered while preparing the scheme.”