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Plea for low-cost housing
THERE is a message coming loud and clear from Lyme Regis - we need more affordable housing.
The town took up the opportunity to prove just how desperate it is for low-cost homes when 125 people passed through the doors of the Woodmead Halls on Tuesday for an affordable housing consultation day.
The event gave residents and people working in Lyme Regis the chance to emphasise the need for affordable homes and suggest potential areas for development.
It was declared a resounding success' by organisers the LymeForward Housing Group. One of the organisers Keith Shaw said: "We are trying to show the residents of Lyme Regis that affordable housing really affects them.
"Up to 75 per cent of people who work in Lyme cannot afford to live in Lyme and this is getting worse all the time.
"We need more affordable housing to get a more balanced society.
A giant map of Lyme Regis, with potential areas for development marked out, invited people to show where they would like - or would not like - to see low-cost homes built.
Sites included the town's three main car parks (Holmbush, Woodmead and Charmouth Road), the Uplyme Road industrial estate, and the Woodroffe hockey field.
The event also gave people to opportunity to sign up to the housing register and speak with housing associations, while land owners and planners could begin talking about development opportunities.
Both Lyme Regis and Uplyme face an affordable housing crisis and will need to work together to explore the use of land outside their development boundaries, so a key figure at the event was Uplyme Parish Council's chairman, Beryl Denham.
She said: "We have discussed the situation with the rural housing enabler.
"One is a rural area and one is an urban area and it is quite difficult to know how to join the two together in terms of affordable housing. Hopefully something will come out of this event."
With figures showing that wages in West Dorset are 17 per cent below the national average and house prices in Lyme are 40 per cent above the national average, young people like brothers Jack and Tom Loughlin feel they do not stand a chance.
Jack, 17, said: "There are a lot of people in Lyme Regis that have a lot of money and they have got a foothold in the property ladder, whereas as soon as we leave school or education we are not going to have that much money and we are going to need something that is affordable."
Tom, 18, thinks young people are forced to stay in the family home for longer. "Maybe it's hard to move out, to remove yourself," he said.
"Unlike other towns, you cannot live near someone you know - you either have to live in Lyme with your family or move away."