Hopes raised that historic link between Lyme Regis town centre and the seafront will be reopened

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Councillors at Lyme Regis are a step closer to establishing a controversial shortcut from the town centre to the seafront as a public right of way.

The local authority has been battling for 14 years to put the Teneriffe footpath, which runs from Broad Street to Marine Parade, on the definitive map.

Dorset County Council’s Roads and Rights of Way Committee went against the advice of its officers and backed the town council when it met to consider the issue recently.

Director for environment Miles Butler recommended that members took a neutral stance as continued investment of public resources was not considered to be in the public interest.

But the committee recommended that the matter was submitted to the Secretary of State for determination and to actively support the order.

The path was closed to the public in the 1980s when a resident of Teneriffe Flats locked the door to the seafront access.

The county council initially refused the designation in July 2009 but the decision was overturned by an inspector on appeal in 2011.

Dorset County Council issued the order, officially recognising it as a public right of way, but fatal errors in the documents meant the process had to start again.

Lyme town councillors Lorna Jenkin and Nigel Clarke, a local historian and former town councillor attended the recent meeting in Dorchester, urging members to support the town council’s efforts.

Cllr Jenkin said: “This has been a long road, which I started in the year 2000 after many requests from the townspeople to take up the issue.

“There has been huge support from the town and we have got more than 50 names of people who used that path.

“I am pleased that the Roads and Rights of Way Committee has actively supported Lyme Regis Town Council in re-establishing Teneriffe Path as a public right of way and I hope the Secretary of State will look favourably on this issue once again.

“We hope to have a decision from the Secretary of State within a year.”

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