AN improved park and ride for Lyme Regis, with small café, loos and electric charge points has been given the go-ahead.

The decision is being seen as a boost for the town's tourist trade.

The expanded site will allow better access with an in-out access, big enough for the buses, campers and cars.

Dorset Council planning officers had recommended rejecting the application because of the visual impact on the landscape – but councillors turned down the advice and unanimously approved the scheme which is operated by Lyme Regis town council.

Councillors heard that the improved park and ride facility required an investment of at least £250,000 but the town council believed that the value of helping keeping traffic out of the  town centre was worthwhile.

Over the years the existing facility, which operates only at the peak weeks of the year, deals with an estimated 50,000 passengers and up to 400 cars a day.

Deputy Lyme town clerk Mark Green told the Dorset Council area planning committee that the £35,000 on-going annual costs paid by the town was good value for money considering how many of the 500,000 a year day visitors to the town were able to use the facility.

He said the small café was unlikely to conflict with town centre businesses and was needed to help provide an income to support the toilets and 10 EV charge points, which would almost double the number available in Lyme.

Lyme councillor Belinda Bawden spoke of what she described as “simmering resentment” locally over the town’s traffic congestion in the busy months of the year and said the new facilities would go far in reducing the problems, offering what she described as a “stress-free, hassle-free welcome” to the town.

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. Out of season the field continues to be used for sheep grazing.

Illustrations – Site plan Site from the air - Google Photos – The site as it is today. TB pics