Planners reject Lyme park and ride application
- Credit: Archant
Planning permission for temporary use of land in Uplyme is refused due to a lack of evidence and its harmful visual impact
A park and ride service which operated to the West of Lyme Regis has been halted.
East Devon District Council last week refused planning permission for a further temporary consent for the site, off the A3052, in Uplyme.
The application, from Lyme Town Council, was rejected on the basis of a lack of evidence provided to justify a need for the facility and that, as a result, this would have a harmful impact upon the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
East Devon’s planning department had previously granted temporary consents for the park and ride use to support businesses in Lyme Regis and visitors to the town, but despite ample time being given to Lyme Regis Town Council to justify the park and ride’s continued use, the required information had not been received, say officials.
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Since 2014, the district’s planning authority says it has consistently asked Lyme Regis Town Council to gather evidence to justify the need for a park and ride in the location in Sidmouth Road.
Despite the town council having four years in which to do this, the work has still not been carried out, says EDDC.
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In addition, East Devon is not convinced that the proposed site is the best location for a park and ride facility, or that a further park and ride site is required, given that the majority of the traffic does not enter the town from the West on the A3052 where the site is located, and that the park and ride on Charmouth Road, to the East of Lyme Regis, has very recently been granted planning permission to operate 400 spaces over a longer seasonal period.
EDDC says it is happy to entertain a future planning application for the site, but it needs to be supported by justification for the use of the site. In addition, robust evidence of the need for the facility and justification that the proposed site is the most appropriate location to serve visitors to the town must be provided.
Cllr Ian Thomas, Leader of East Devon District Council and ward member for Trinity, which includes Uplyme, said: “East Devon planners, Uplyme Parish Council and I have worked for several years, in the interest of Lyme Regis traders, residents and visitors, in what has become a uniquely frustrating process.
“Last Summer, contrary to planning guidelines, I was able to secure a further last minute temporary consent.
“I was only able to do so: ‘….to allow the newly formed working group, including representatives from Devon and Dorset County Councils, East Devon and West Dorset District Councils. Lyme Regis Town Council and Uplyme Parish Council, to use such information in the development of a strategic approach to the management of traffic and parking requirements…”
“Sadly, this group has never met…
“It is disappointing that another planning application (validated on 19 March 2018) was submitted by Lyme Regis Town Council, seeking further temporary consent from 30 March 2018. The application is essentially a copy of that submitted in 2017, so it again neither offers supporting evidence requested following the 2014 application, nor demonstrates any significant progress in that direction.
“This lack of progress makes it impossible for me to intervene again on the grounds I used in 2017.
“Despite several instances of ‘factual inaccuracy’ by the applicant, I commend both East Devon planners and Uplyme Parish Council on their rigorous adherence to dealing professionally with each successive application, according to planning policy and guidelines.
“Notwithstanding difficulties experienced to date, I am confident that East Devon District Council, Uplyme Parish Council, other local authority neighbours and I, remain willing to work with Lyme Regis Town Council to develop the best possible long-term solution to the management of traffic and associated parking requirements in and around Lyme Regis and Uplyme.”
Lyme Regis deputy mayor, Cllr Steve Miller, said: “Lyme Regis Town Council was extremely disappointed to learn, immediately prior to a busy bank holiday and the school half term, that East Devon District Council refused the application for continued temporary use of the Sidmouth Road park and ride site.
“We are surprised by the tone and content of the press release issued by East Devon District Council, a copy of which was not supplied to the town council. We believe such a release is not normal practice on refusal of a planning application.
“The town council will obviously review available options before deciding how to proceed, which may involve appealing the planning authority’s decision.
“In the meantime, the work to obtain the evidence previously requested by East Devon District Council has already been commissioned via independent experts Hydrock and will continue. However, this has been made more difficult by the refusal of the Sidmouth Road application.
“This work will ascertain the best parking, transport and signage strategies for the town and will be pursued by the town council in the best long-term interests of the residents and businesses of Lyme Regis and those visiting the town we all love.
“The 400-space Charmouth Road Park and ride site will continue to operate throughout the peak summer periods. In addition, the town council has just agreed to extend the bus service to include all June weekends.
“The town council is grateful for the help and support it received from West Dorset District Council, its local representative and the landowner in achieving the permanent permission for the use of the Charmouth Road facility, which is also in an area of outstanding natural beauty.”
Ticketing options include a ?6 return fare to cover up to five people of any combination of ages. Bus pass holders travel free-of-charge. The service runs frequently from 10am to 7.30pm, utilising two double-deck buses.