Safety of Lyme Regis chalet site is of 'prime importance'

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Lyme Regis deputy town clerk John Wright at the chalet site Lyme Regis deputy town clerk John Wright at the chalet site

COUNCILLORS said safety of the site is of prime importance as the town gets busier during this half term week.

Several areas around the affected chalets have been fenced off and signs warn people of the dangers.

Coun Daryl Turner said at last week’s meeting: “It just concerns me that some of the areas should be fenced off completely.”

The council is also monitoring the area around the Monmouth Beach day huts after a 300-metre stretch of the cliff slipped onto the beach on February 11.

Coun Turner said steps near the day huts are damaged and a wall behind had moved.

“This is a family resort,” he said. “There will be kids all over that. “The steps are damaged and we have a duty of care to make sure kids don’t get hurt going up those steps or loose rocks and boulders.”

Councillors said the whole site looks ‘awful’, at a time when many of the holiday homes will be occupied.

Coun Turner said: “Chalet owners should have been informed earlier than this, in case they are planning to come down here or leasing those huts with no knowledge of what they are coming down to.”

Coun Turner has criticised the town council’s handling of events at Ware Cliff.

He posed a list of eight questions to the council at the meeting.

Many of the decisions during the emergency situation have been taken by council staff under delegated powers.

Coun Turner said: “I would disassociate myself with some of those decisions. I don’t believe that councillors had any input.”

Deputy town clerk John Wright said: “The council, if they so wish, can delegate powers to officers.
 

“The events that have happened over the last few weeks have been operational issues.”

Coun Turner claimed that he requested an extraordinary meeting several times, ‘in the interests of openness and transparency’, but was refused.
 

A special meeting can be called by the Town Mayor with only three days’ notice.

Mayor Sally Holman: “Had two councillors requested a special meeting of full council, then I would have perhaps looked at whether this was likely to be useful to the whole council, but this did not happen.”

Coun Turner said there has been a long ‘email and paper trail’ between councillors throughout the incident and called on them to make the documents available to the public, which was agreed by members.
 

Coun Turner also asked who decided to engage legal services and at what cost.

Mr Wright said: “With an issue of this magnitude I think it’s incumbent on me and the town clerk to get the best advice on what the council’s position is.”
 

Coun Turner asked who took the decision to open the access road following the January 29 slip.
 

Mr Wright said: “Technical engineers said the road was not a problem and could be re-opened.”

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