Friday, 27 May 2011

Time to beat the bounds

ON our Lyme Letters page this week we publish another complaint about dog fouling in Lyme Regis.

We get many similar letters every year which really rankle with the town’s responsible dog owners.

This latest letter calls for the people of Lyme to “unite and keep the town clean”. Lyme did away with its dedicated dog warden (Derek Hallett) in 2008 and replaced him with an enforcement officer who is responsible for policing dog issues but who has other duties.

The writer of the latest missive on Lyme’s dirty streets even went to the trouble of establishing, via the Freedom of Information Act, that only two fixed penalty notices have been issued in the past 18 months for dog fouling, the problem being that there always has to be a witness for a successful prosecution.

There is no doubt there is increasing concern in Lyme over the unkempt state of our streets, and not just from a dog fouling point of view.

It was an issue the old town council failed to crack. Some of our new councillors who, to their credit, attended many council meetings and spoke during the public forum, raised concerns on many occasions.

At a recent town meeting Ken Gollop, tongue in cheek, suggested the council should employ a herd of goats to keep the vegetation springing from our side streets in good order. Well, I think it was tongue in cheek!

Take a stroll around the town (taking in Sherborne Lane and Coombe Street and parts of the estate) and you will see exactly why feelings are running quite high about the untidy state of Lyme.

Our new councillors, refreshingly excited about the challenges before them, want to be seen to be making a difference quickly and not sit back and allow the wheels of local government to grind on slowly with a result coming in two years. The real problem, of course, is that the town council is not the responsible authority for all the grotty areas.

But the man in the street is not intersted in whether it’s the job of the county, district or town council. They just want it sorted.

The new-look council has a great opportinity here to prove that it can bring about change. I would like to see them draw up a hit list of areas that need improving and then work with the appropriate agencies to make sure a solution is found. And then tick them off one by one.

Former councillor Ken Meech on many occasions called for council staff to “walk the manor” on a regular basis to make sure such jobs were noted and then dealt with. I’m not sure that ever happened.

Many parishes have a regular “beating of the bounds”. Perhaps that’s something that would benefit Lyme. If nothing else, it would be good exercise for the councillors.

More plaudits for ‘ultra-stylish Lyme’

THIS week we have taken the unusual step of publishing an article in full from another newspaper.

Under the heading of “Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside...” we reproduce in full a very glowing report on Lyme Regis written by Donata Huggins and printed in CITY A.M., a free business paper distributed in London every weekday morning.

It describes Lyme as “quintessentially English, ultra-stylish and packed full of fantastic places to eat”.

It was so complimentary that I thought the article, so typical of many that appear in the quality press these days, should be seen by local people.

There is no doubt that Lyme has become something of a mecca for foodies and only this week we learn that one of the restaurants mentioned in Ms Huggins’ article, the Tea and Dining Room at the Town Mill, has been adjudged the best restaurant in the South West by the Good Food Guide.

Top job for Daryl

CONGRATULATIONS to Lyme Regis district councillor Daryl Turner. As predicted in last week’s Lyme Matters, our new deputy mayor is climbing the Tory ladder at West Dorset District Council and has been rewarded for his loyalty to the Conservative cause with an important job at High West Street in Dorchester.

Daryl, who abandoned the Liberal Democrats to join the Conservatives mid-way through the last council, disillusioned with Lib Dem policies, has been elected as vice-chairman of WDDC’s Efficiency and Scrutiny Committee, a role that will suit his keen eye for detail when it comes to monitoring procedural matters.

A LITTLE bit of maritime history was made on Sunday morning when the lerret Littlesea was launched off the steep shingle beach at Cobb Gate.

The Littlesea was made by boatbuilder Gail McGarva, an exact replica of the traditional Dorset fishing boat that goes back to the 1600s.

The double ender lerret, ideal for mackerel fishing, was constructed especially to be launched off the steep shingle banks of Chesil Beach and, of course, we now have one of our own at Cobb Gate following the remodelling of the main beach as part of the coastal protection works which is protecting Lyme’s seafront from the ravages of the sea.

Gail’s mentor, Roy Gollop, a member of one of Lyme’s old seafaring families, was present, resplendent in bowler hat, to keep an eye on proceedings and Sue Beckers sang the sea shanty especially written when Littlesea was launched last year.

This was such a typical Lyme event, witnessed as always by a large crowd, and a firm reminder that Lyme’s history is instrically linked to the sea.

The Littlesea was rowed across the bay to the harbour where an exhibition on the lerret was held featuring the lerret Vera, built in 1923, much to the fore.

The exhibition now leaves for a tour of the Jurassic Coast, Eton College and the Beal Park Wooden Boat Show on The Thames, rereturning to Lyme in September, a project sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund which will provide Lyme with more excellent publicity.

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