CHARITIES and community groups will ‘suffer’ as a result of 13 weeks of car park closures, it has been claimed.

Work to resurface three of West Bay’s car parks has meant a weekly car boot sale, held at the West Bay Road car park, has not been able to take place.

The income received by West Dorset District Council from the car boot sale is used to provide funding for community projects in the Bridport area - £12,800 was raised for such causes in 2017.

Charity representatives also hold stalls at the event to raise money for their organisations.

The car park has been closed since March due to health and safety risks while work is carried out, according to WDDC, upsetting many stallholders who say organisations and charities will now miss out.

Dawn Newbury is involved with the car boot sale and says she put forward an alternative, temporary location to WDDC, with the support of district and county councillor Keith Day, but has not yet had a response.

Ms Newbury said: “It’s such a shame. You’ve got the air ambulance, local schools, football clubs and scout groups who go down there – they’re missing out on money.

“It’s good for the community and the area, not just West Bay. A lot of people are upset as the money raised is a lot to those charities.”

Vee Greenslade, who also regularly holds a pitch at the car boot sale, said: “[It] brings people into West Bay on a Sunday morning who would otherwise not visit, bringing business to West Bay traders and car parking fees which would not happen at this time of day without the attraction of the car boot which is always heavily attended by both buyers and sellers.

"People come from far and wide just to visit the car boot as it is one of the most popular car boots in Dorset. This is a longstanding car boot which is sorely missed by both buyers and sellers alike, also local traders will suffer and most importantly local charities who are often small charities which depend on the contributions.”

The West Bay Road car park, along with the Bridport Arms car park and Station Yard car park, were identified by WDDC as being in poor condition and resurfacing work began in March.

Groups to have benefited from the Bridport Area Car Boot Fund in the past include the Living Tree cancer support group, Chancery House, 1st Charmouth Guides and 1st Charmouth Scout Group and Bridport Community Orchard Group, to name a few.

Living Tree founder, Jo O’Farrell, said: "We have been very appreciative of the funding and it has been very useful to us. They may seem relatively small amounts but they make a huge difference to small groups and allows them to do things they might not have been able to do.

"If they need to do the work, they need to do the work, but it seems unfortunate timing. We also have one of our members who regularly holds a stall down there for us and she has not been able to do that. The boot sale would have done brilliantly over the bank holiday."

Cllr Day says the car boot sale is an 'amenity' and that he is 'upset' it is not taking place at the moment.

"It's a good place to raise money for charities," said Cllr Day. "The money makes a big difference to these local organisations. It also helps organisations that don't always fit the bill for other funding."

A spokesman for WDDC said: “The works have been scheduled to ensure that there was as much capacity as possible during the time of the works. We will be running a survey asking for views on the car boot sale shortly.”