A PETITION has been launched calling on councillors to reconsider their decision to refuse permission for a replacement, raised lifeguard hut requested by the RNLI.

The charity's request for a new hut, which it claims will allow lifeguards to better see Lyme Regis beach when busy, was turned down at a recent full meeting of Lyme Regis Town Council.

The RNLI said a raised hut would enable lifeguards to see more of the front beach when it is busy and have a much better view of the water. It was considered by the charity to be 'an important safety enhancement' and the hut would be removed when not in use during the winter months, operating from July to September in the same location as the existing hut. The charity said it had hoped to build something similar to what is on Weymouth beach.

But town councillors said the new hut was too large and was 'ugly and unnecessary.'

Cllr John Broom said he was not against the hut in principle, but objected to the size of the proposed new hut. "I think it's horrendous," he said. "This structure is not necessary."

Cllr Cheryl Reynolds agreed, saying the new hut was 'far too big.'

Cllr Jeff Scowen initially warned against refusing the hut but admitted he had been 'swayed' by fellow councillors and the request was refused.

Lyme Regis resident Ryan Turner has since set up a petition on change.org calling on councillors to rethink their decision and it already has more than 400 signatures.

Mr Turner said: "I have lived in Lyme all my life. I have a boat in the harbour and I am always involved with the sea. I know the dangers and I am aware of what it is capable of.

If [the hut] wasn't needed, the RNLI wouldn't go the trouble of putting it there at all. If they have made a recommendation, it should be followed. They are the professionals and they do what they do day in, day out."

He added: "The basis of [the council's] decision was on appearance and the fact other beaches don't even have one, so we are lucky. This is what we will tell the parents who loses a child due to the fact that they could not be seen."