Traders in Lyme Regis say they saw 'not even half' as much trade as expected after the unexpected closure of a town centre road in the build-up to Christmas.

The Bell Cliff at the bottom of Broad Street in Lyme Regis suffered a partial building collapse on November 8 - which closed the road in that area for more than a month due to scaffolding being put up.

The scaffolding put in place to secure the Bell Cliff was removed on Monday, December 18 after temporary repairs were carried out – meaning the road, the A3052, is now clear.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: The Bell Cliff now the scaffolding has been removedThe Bell Cliff now the scaffolding has been removed (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

During the closure traders on Broad Street say they saw a 'dramatic' fall in business as people, particularly from out of town, shunned the town centre due to the closure. They say this was exacerbated by signage on approaches to the town and miles outside saying the road was closed.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Area of the road closure on Broad Street, Lyme RegisArea of the road closure on Broad Street, Lyme Regis (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

Mark Sainsbury, the owner of Good Food café on Broad Street says the closure has had a dramatic effect on his business.

He said: "Our takings were down about 50% from last year (in this period).

"Part of that I think we can put down to the economic situation but you can see a big drop from November onwards. It has probably cost us about £2,000 a week in takings.

"I think what has been frustrating is the signage saying the road is closed (west on the A3052)  and at the Charmouth Roundabout. It had quiet a dramatic effect on people.

"I appreciate there are a lot of people involved but it feels like people were mulling things over and it took longer than it needed to."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Mark Sainsbury, the owner of Good FoodMark Sainsbury, the owner of Good Food (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

The work to complete repairs is only a temporary solution and further work will need to be carried out to secure the building long term. This is expected to happen in the autumn of 2024.

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. 

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

Darren Farnden of Lyme Gifts said: "There was no traffic and we hardly got any customers. We had not even half what we expected to take, not even near.

"You rely on that time of the year so it had a big impact. I didn't start opening until 11am because there was no one here. We had four customers a day if we were lucky. Just hope it picks up now.

"It should be at least one way or something when they close it again."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Darren Farnden from Lyme GiftsDarren Farnden from Lyme Gifts (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

William Stuttaford, the owner of Primary Colours toy shop said: "It has been very quiet for the last month but it is impossible to say how much is caused by the closure and how much was caused by the broader economic situation.

"There were some days I looked out the window and there was no one in the street.

"When they close it again I hope there will be a one-way traffic system at the bottom and there won't be these terrible road signs saying 'road closed'."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Lyme Regis's Broad Street

Read more: Firefighters at building collapse in Broad Street Lyme Regis