THE RNLI has expressed its 'extreme disappointment' at a council's decision to refuse a new lifeguard facility that it claims will 'vastly improve the safety of families.'

The charity submitted a request to Lyme Regis Town Council for a replacement, raised lifeguard hut that it claims will allow lifeguards to better see Lyme Regis beach when busy - but councillors refused the plans.

The request for the new hut on Lyme Regis beach was discussed at a full council meeting last week, when councillors criticised its appearance and size.

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.'

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.

Following the refusal, Nigel Jones, RNLI area life-saving manager, said: "The RNLI is extremely disappointed with the decision taken by Lyme Regis Town Council to refuse planning for an improved temporary lifeguard facility on Lyme Regis beach.

"The elevated lifeguard unit, which is identical to those used on other RNLI lifeguarded beaches across the country, will give the lifeguards better vision of the beach and people in the water which can be restricted when the beach is at its busiest, requiring the lifeguards to stand on the adjacent wall to keep a good watch. It will also mean beachgoers can more clearly see where the lifeguards are situated and will know where to go seek help with minor injuries or missing children.

"The new facility, although elevated, is not much bigger than the current design, is temporary for the season, will not incur any additional cost to the town council and will vastly improve the safety of families and other water users in Lyme Regis."

Mr Jones says the RNLI is currently working with the council 'in an effort to persuade councillors to reconsider their decision, and hope for a positive, sensible outcome'

A petition set up by Lyme resident Ryan Turner also calling on councillors to rethink their decision has reached almost 700 signatures. It was presented to the town council last night.

Town clerk John Wright said: “The council welcomes interest from the local community about this issue. We encourage the public to attend our meetings to listen to and engage with councillors on issues affecting the town.

“The council invited the petitioner, Ryan Turner, to attend a meeting of the town management and Highways Committee to present the petition.

“This gives members the opportunity to consider how they wish to respond to the petition.”