AN UPGRADE for the Lyme Regis park and ride site could be rejected by Dorset Council’s area planning committee in the coming days.

The Charmouth Road site operators want to create a better access for cars and buses, add a café and toilets and provide ten electric vehicle charging points.

But council planning officers say the scale of the proposed building is ‘overly large’ outside the town centre and against several council development policies and might compete with existing town centre refreshment businesses.

Officers also say the development would cause ‘harm’ to the landscape in its prominent position and there is insufficient evidence to prove the changes are needed for the park and ride to continue.

Councillors will be told at an area planning committee on Thursday April 18 that whatever happens with the planning application the current seasonal park and ride, which this year will operate from early May to September, will continue.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: The proposed cafe building Image: Seb Cope Design The proposed cafe building Image: Seb Cope Design (Image: Seb Cope Design)

The new scheme is a re-worked version of a previous application with a new site for the main building switched to the northeast corner of the field.

The current Charmouth Road site, about two miles out of town on the eastern side, only has one entrance and no other facilities.

The park and ride service is commissioned by Lyme Regis Town Council. Out of season the field continues to be used for sheep grazing.

An agent for the operators, the Wellman family from Axminster, say that currently there is inadequate parking in Lyme on busy days and many people simply give up and move on elsewhere: “There are simply insufficient parking spaces within the town to accommodate the large number of visitors who wish to visit Lyme Regis on busy summer, sunny days.

"This means that a considerable number of cars do not enter the town, seeking spaces and contributing towards air pollution and driver frustration.

"This facility therefore contributes significantly to more sustainable forms of travel, in accordance with national and local planning and transport policies. The number of parking spaces within Lyme Regis is strictly limited and it is clear that due to high visitor numbers, on busy days they are unable to park within the confines of the town centre area, so probably leave the town and go elsewhere.”

There has been no public objections to the proposal with Lyme Regis Town Council telling Dorset Council: “The town council recommends approval of the application because it is in accordance with the approved development plan and does not involve unacceptable or material harm to the Conservation Area or heritage assets.”