THE CHAIRMAN of a council's planning committee is "extremely disappointed" after revised plans for a park and ride failed to win the support of the authority where the site would be reopened.
Lyme Regis Town Council has applied to East Devon District Council (EDDC) for permission to continue to operate a seasonal park and ride on Sidmouth Road, over the county border. The proposals were considered by Uplyme Parish Council's planning committee last week (9) and members recommended the application be refused.
The park and ride has operated seasonally since 2006, accommodating up to 1,000 vehicles a week. Temporary planning permission has previously been approved by the district council, but Lyme Regis Town Council has now applied for permanent permission after its latest temporary application was rejected last year.
Cllr Steve Miller, chairman of the town council’s planning committee, said: “I am extremely disappointed with the decision of the parish council, particularly as Uplyme has only recently completed a neighbourhood plan, in which it specifically supported the continuation of the park and ride facility.
“A site on Sidmouth Road within Uplyme parish has been used in recent years as a park and ride site to serve Lyme Regis, where parking is severely constrained and insufficient to meet the high demand during the summer."
He added: “The site was subject to a temporary planning consent, now lapsed, but a longer term proposal is anticipated and has the support of Uplyme Parish Council, in recognition of the contribution it can make to alleviating congestion in Lyme Regis and consequent benefits to local businesses serving tourists.
“The town council will continue to pursue the application vigorously. I hope EDDC will take a reasonable and objective approach in considering the matter and not be swayed by fears of completely unrelated matters.”
At the Uplyme meeting, reference was made to a seven-page letter of objection from the Trinity ward member for the district council and nearby resident and landowner, Cllr Ian Thomas. In his letter, which was circulated to parish councillors at the meeting, Cllr Thomas raised many concerns, including that the application might set a precedent for other forms of development on nearby land.
Town planning director at Boon Brown architects, Shaun Travers, spoke in favour of the application at the meeting, supported by Cllr Miller and Cllr John Broom.
Mr Travers explained the importance of the park and ride to Lyme Regis, but the planning committee disagreed and recommend refusal by three votes to one.
Lyme Regis deputy town clerk, Mark Green, said: “The Sidmouth Road park and ride is well-used, especially during summer weekends or when one of the town’s many major events is taking place.
“The ongoing availability of the Sidmouth Road site is considered essential to adequately cater for the many visitors who are the life-blood of the town’s summer economy and to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and pedestrian safety in the town centre at the busiest times.”