Wednesday, 6 March 2013

What to do about the buses

ONCE again through traffic in Lyme Regis came to a standstill on Monday when two buses became wedged in Church Street.

And once again there are cries from local residents that something has to be done about the buses in Lyme Regis.

Successive town councils have wrestled with this problem over the years with no solution being found - for one simple reason, there isn’t one.

It is difficult not to sympathise with the residents of Church Street who regularly run the gauntlet of being squashed by one of the double decker buses that scrape by their buildings every day. 

But what can be done? Lyme does not lend itself to a one-way system, primarily because it would involve Woodmead Road and there’s no way buses could get up or down that road. 

Another much talked about solution would be the installation of traffic lights outside the London Inn; again a non-starter because of the length of distance between the lights on Bridge Street which would cause huge tailbacks, especially in Broad Street.

Surely, the only solution rests with the bus operator, First. They have made polite apologies for the inconvenience caused this week, as they always do, but with no real answers.

They do their best, they say, to stagger the journeys of the X53 (Exeter to Poole) and the 31 (Axminster to Weymouth) services but they have to take into consideration the requirement to meet up with the trains at Axminster station. 

In the summer months both services can be severely delayed by the weight of the summer traffic so they never really know what time their buses will be passing through Lyme.

However, during this age of sat navs and mobile communications, surely it is possible for the drivers to have the ways and means of knowing when they will be passing through Lyme at the same time, avoiding Church Street.

New twinning will be a great success

TWINNING is in the news this week with plans being revealed for the proposed linking up with the Normandy port of Barfleur taking place in Lyme and across the channel in May and September.

The two communities have been building relationships for the past couple of years and are now looking forward to making the twinning arrangement official.

Lyme, of course, already has a high profile twinning arrangement with St George’s in Bermuda which, from a tourism point of view, has been a great success.

But because of the distance between Dorset and the North Atlantic, and the cost of travelling between the two communities, it has been impossible to exploit to the full ethos of twinning whereby there can be an exchange of cultures, etc.

That will certainly not be the case with the links between Lyme and Barfleur with relationships already having been established between the two art communities.

It is also hoped that the local schools and sporting organisations can form their own associations after the official twinning ceremonies have been formalised.

Lyme has a great deal in common with Barfleur, especially our maritime activities. 
We also have strong links with Normandy through the twinning arrangement between Lyme Regis Football Club and the village of Creully which has been going on for 33 years, a unique situation in both English and French grassroots football.

I have no doubt that the twinning between Lyme and Barfleur will be a great success and that friendships will be established that will last for many years.

This has certainly been the experience of the football club with regular exchanges between families.


FORMER fisherman and local history expert Ken Gollop, a member of one of Lyme’s oldest families, has built up a cult following for his wonderful “Under Shady Tree” slide shows. 

“Shady Tree”, by the way, was a popular meeting place in Anning Road for youngsters during and after the war, now long gone.

His recollections of old Lyme have always been well supported and attracted around 180 people to the Woodmead Halls on Sunday afternoon.

Ken and I often play a “spot the local” game at events when on many occasions it seems that he and I are the only Lyme-born people present.

That was certainly not the case on Sunday when the hall was full with people that Ken and I have grown up with over the years.

It was three or four years since Ken organised his last “Under Shady Tree” and he was persuaded to do another one by popular demand.  None of us present were disappointed.

Ken concentrated on the area where he grew up - the Colway Mead estate known by all true locals as “China Town”.  I always thought it was called that because the girls whom worked in the laundry at Jordan Flats were rehoused at Colway Mead, one of the first social housing projects in Dorset.

Not so, according to Ken. He told his audience that the “China Town” tag came because when you viewed the estate from the other side of the valley all the triangular roofs looked like a line of Chinamen walking up the hill.

Ken also focussed on his years growing up in Colway Mead and showed a number of old photographs featuring some of his contemporaries, many of whom were in the audience. 

From time to time we reproduce old photos in this newspaper and I thought I had seen most of them over the years but Ken, as always, managed to source a number that had previously not seen the light of day.

Ken, of course, has his own presentation style, totally natural with no airs and graces. He tickled me pink with his reminiscences about the American GIs and later the RAF boys from the barracks down at Monmouth Beach stealing all the pretty young local girls. Classic.  

Roll on the next “Under Shady Tree”.

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