PLANS to extend a parking and ride have been given the green light - but the service can’t operate until after Easter because of bad weather.

West Dorset District Council has granted permission to extend the opening of the Charmouth Road park and ride in Lyme Regis.

It had been hoped to get the service operating from the Easter weekend, but wet weather means it cannot open until ground conditions improve.

Deputy town clerk Mark Green said: “Having obtained planning permission and being in a position to go with the bus company, the landowner of the Charmouth Road site has advised that the ground conditions are simply too wet for it to be used for parking over the coming weekend, especially with significant rainfall forecast between now and the weekend.

“We completely agree with this decision and we will continue to liaise with the landowner and bus company regularly over the coming days.

“We understand the land drains quickly and it should be useable given a clear week of largely dry weather.”

Charmouth Road park and ride has previously operated only during the summer holidays, but the council wanted to extend the season to help alleviate pressure on town centre car parks.

A spokesman said that, when open, it will significantly improve the previous Easter arrangements at the Sidmouth Road site.

When weather conditions allow, there will be double the normal parking capacity and four times the normal bus capacity, as two double deckers will be running in a loop between the town and the site.

In the meantime, the application for the continued use of the Sidmouth Road park and ride has been submitted to East Devon District Council.

Mr Green said: “When it became clear we would not be able to get planning permission for Sidmouth Road in time for Easter, it became even more important to get the Charmouth Road site open.

“The Sidmouth Road site is even wetter than Charmouth Road and would have been similarly affected had there been a permission already in place.“Everyone involved in securing the Charmouth Road planning permission, both at the town and district council and especially the landowner, have done everything they can to get the permission in place for Easter.

“It is therefore hugely frustrating that the weather will now prevent it from opening.

“We are hopeful that when the weather improves, it can open for at least part of the Easter holidays.”