Contact the Bridport News with your stories, pictures and video footage. Send us an email
Lyme Regis: Time running out for seafront CCTV by summer
HOPES are fading that the Marine Parade Shelters in Lyme Regis will be protected by CCTV cameras in time for the summer season.
Lyme Regis Police and traders have been desperate to see the crime-busting security measures installed on Marine Parade since the £1.32million shelters opened almost a year ago.
And fresh calls were made early this year for the cameras to be in place for the Easter holidays.
But town clerk Michael Lewis revealed this week that planners’ demands for a series of technical reports on the proposed installation means that it will be “several months” at least before the cameras will be switched on.
West Dorset District Council confirmed that no valid planning application had yet been lodged.
And frustration is building for both police and seafront traders like Lucinda and Peter Cliff whose Rinky Tinks Ice Cream Parlour on Cart Road was subjected to an attempted burglary last week.
Tools were stolen in a separate incident at an out-building near Monmouth Beach and a failed attempt to break in to the harbourmaster’s office is being investigated by police. That area is covered by CCTV and hopes are high that footage will lead to the culprit being identified.
Mrs Cliff said a sturdy lock on their premises foiled the thief, but said she felt the area was particularly vulnerable overnight to theft and vandalism.
“We have nothing to steal in there apart from ice-cream.
“There is never cash on the premises, but this means that we and others shouldn’t take security for granted.
“But it makes you think. The seafront is very quiet at night.”
Mr Cliff said that CCTV would have acted as a deterrent.
“There is no other way of keeping an eye on an area like this.
“There is a good chance it would have stopped whoever it was, so they could be identified.”
PC Richard Winward, Lyme Regis community beat manager, said:” We are desperately keen for it.
“The cameras are used all the time in other towns like Bridport – they are a real deterrent.
“No-one will be watching 24 hours a day – we don’t want to look at people eating an ice-cream on the beach.
“This is an urgent issue. It is a very valuable asset down there.
“We want it to be a place where anyone can go – no no-go areas with vandalism or graffiti.
“It is a bit vulnerable along there. There are large expanses of glass and we want to be able to catch people if they are up to no good.”
The town clerk stressed that the finance – of around £15,000 – is in place to fund the cameras.
But the installation, requiring poles and a range of fittings on the building in a Conservation Area, had required a considerable amount of work in preparing detailed technical reports to satisfy the planners.
“We have faced a series of requests from West Dorset and we hope we will soon be in a position to supply all that,” said Mr Lewis.
“But it will be at least eight weeks from when the district council starts the formal process for considering the application, so we are looking at several months yet. Tenders will need updating and so the matter will have to go back before the council.”
Tony Colston, chairman of the Lyme Traders’ Association, said the delays were “disappointing and difficult to understand”.
“It is hard to understand why something relatively straightforward has taken so long to get into place,” he added.