There are renewed hopes today that the main road through Lyme Regis' town centre will be open next week after temporary work was carried out to a damaged building.

Broad Street has been closed since November 8 after the Bell Cliff building partially collapsed - prompting scaffolding to be erected to secure the property and leading to the road being closed off to through traffic.

READ: Firefighters at building collapse in Broad Street Lyme Regis

After more than a month of chaos and fears Lyme has become a ghost town due to visitors going elsewhere as they have been put off by the closure, temporary work has now been carried out to repair the listed building which will allow for the scaffolding to be taken down.

It is expected that the scaffolding will be completely removed by Tuesday, December 19, and that the road can reopen before the final weekend ahead of Christmas.

The News has previously reported that meetings have been held between Dorset Council, Lyme Regis Town Council, builders and the building's owner in recent weeks as a resolution was sought. 

Cllr Belinda Bawden has also called on Dorset Council to provide two extra days of free parking to coincide with Christmas events in the town due to businesses concerns over a lack of trade due to 'road closed' signs miles outside of the town.

Lyme Regis Town Council said in a statement that builders had been working on the Bell Cliff building since Tuesday to carry out temporary repairs.

The council said: “The building has been made watertight and will be restored almost as before, but with some wooden batons to secure the existing render.

“Dorset Council’s conservation officer is satisfied with the temporary works."

It was expected the work was due to be complete on Friday.

The statement added: “We have spoken to the scaffolding company, and they have confirmed they will start removing the scaffolding on Monday and it will be cleared by the end of Tuesday.

“Once Dorset Council has a confirmed time for when the scaffolding will be fully removed, they will arrange for the road to be reopened as soon as possible.”

The news will come as a great relief to businesses that have seen trade disrupted due to the road closure and diversions signs that have directed potential visitors on a seven-mile detour – despite access to the town’s shops and car parks being available.

READ: Lyme Regis has gone 'silent' after Broad Street closure

Despite the ‘devastating’ road closure, many of the town’s businesses have come together to declare that they are very much open for business.

In a statement issued to the News by a group over 30 traders, they said: “The last couple of weeks have seen us unite in solidarity, in the face of adversity as never before.

“Following devastating road closures and diversions around the town, many of us across retail and hospitality have been left suffering.

“However, it has motivated us to come together as a collective and take positive action, to spread the word that our beautiful town is open, accessible and ready to welcome everyone. Lyme Regis is proud to have such a vibrant community of independent businesses.

“It is not a town built on faceless corporations but small, friendly businesses, run by passionate individuals, couples and families.

“We are beautifully decorated for Christmas, and we hope that this message reaches someone and encourages them to make the trip today, to come and see the magic that lies in our town and behind the doors of our shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars.”

However, the repair work that has been done to secure the building is only a temporary solution and a larger project will need to be undertaken next year to ensure the long-term safety of the building.

Lyme Regis Town Council added: “More significant works will be required to the building and this is currently being discussed with the conservation officer.

“The timing of these works is essential and will be planned carefully so there is minimal disruption to the town. It is anticipated these works will take place in autumn 2024.”