Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Going to the polls next year?

IT DOESN’T seem 15 months ago that we were electing a new town council - and Lyme Regis could be going to the polls again next May.

That’s when Dorset County Council will be electing members for the next four-year term. Lyme comes under the Marshwood Vale county council seat and has been held for the last eight years by the Conservative candidate, Colonel Geoffery Brierley. 

The Liberal Democrats in West Dorset have already named former Lyme Regis district councillor Pat Hicks as their candidate for the Marshwood seat.

Mr Hicks, a former station officer at Lyme Regis Fire Brigade, has recently retired from business and is keen to get back into local government, having already represented the town on West Dorset District Council. He lost his district seat, along with Owen Lovell, when Daryl Turner and George Symonds were elected last year.

It is rumoured that Colonel Brierley will be stepping down next May but the West Dorset Conservative Association will not be naming their candidates until next month. Whoever replaces Colonel Brierley will be following in very big shoes indeed. 

He’s been an excellent county councillor for Lyme Regis and has won much respect for his no-nonsense way of telling things how they are, refusing to make false promises, which might well have something to do with his military background.

But he has fought hard for Lyme Regis over the years and the Colonel has had a number of successes along the way, not least the provision of a footpath in Charmouth Road which had been talked about for 50 years.

The clamour for coffee in Lyme

MUCH has been written and said about the changing face of Broad Street with the arrival of High Street giants WH Smith and Costa Coffee.

Costa opened their doors in the former Fortnam, Smith and Banwell estate agents, who have moved further down the street to the old Country Stocks Shop, on Friday of last week - and looked like being an instant hit.

The elegantly furnished coffee shop was packed on Friday lunchtime, mostly with locals, and looked to have been doing good business throughout the weekend.

There are many people in the town who wonder whether Lyme can sustain so many coffee shops. In the town centre alone (not including pubs and hotels) there are at least eight premises where coffee is served. Yet we don’t have a butcher’s shop.

However, I suppose we should be pleased that national brands are interested in coming to Lyme and, of course, they are providing employment all year round for local people. Better surely than more charity shops, which is happening in many towns.

Last week I had an excellent cup of coffee at the recently opened Amid Giants & Idols in Silver Street, also very busy and tastefully  furnished, and Jackie and I popped into Costa on Sunday morning. 

As to be expected of a company the size of Costa, the premises have been furnished to an extremely high standard and will undoubtedly be popular with visitors to the town.

... and now for Lyme’s Christmas celebrations

AT the recent town council Tourism and Economic Development Committee Council Rikey Austin reported than discussions were already taking place with the Lyme Traders organisation with regard to the town’s Christmas festivities.

She reported that they were thinking of organising a one-day event with late night opening rather than the four separate Fridays held last year. You may recall the View from Lyme Regis and this column in particular got itself into very deep water when we dared to suggest last year that four late-night Christmas shopping nights were too many, our opinion being based on previous experience.

Despite the hard work on the part of Rikey and her helpers,  the late-night shopping nights did not attract big crowds but created a good festive atmosphere in the town.

The other big event this Christmas will be the first ever Great Christmas Pudding Race in aid of Cancer Research UK, taking place on Marine Parade on Saturday, December 15th (see page 18). Full details on the website -

ONE of the most controversial issues in Lyme Regis over the summer months was the town council’s refusal to back our local police in introducing new legislation to curb rowdiness in the public gardens.

The situation was further confused when Mayor Sally Holman gave her casting vote to support the police but the matter was immediately referred back for further discussion when the decision was reversed.

I thought the matter was done and dusted - but clearly not.  At tonight’s Strategy and Policy Committee meeting Councillor Daryl Turner, a stickler for procedure, is requesting further legal advice from the National Association of Local Councils. Watch this space!

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