Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Three Cups on the agenda - yet again!

ONE thing you have to say for Lyme Regis Town Council, they don’t give up easily.

I missed last week’s meeting of the Strategy and Policy Committee but read the agenda papers before hand. including a well presented report on the former Three Cups Hotel.

The report was put together by councillors Lucy Campbell and Rikey Austin and they had clearly worked hard to come up with a list of recommendations which will more than demonstrate to the owners, Palmers Brewery, that they will probably never win over the town council as far as the Three Cups is concerned.

It is quite clear that the majority of the council have still not accepted that the Cups will never be an hotel again.

My first reaction on reading the report was: “Oh not again. Why don’t they accept that Palmers will never return this bulding to its previous glory?”

Part of the report was about making sure the building is brought back into productive use without further delay. I fully concur with this but I find myself in total disagreement, yet again, over the rest of their thinking.

And despite the brilliant work put in by John Dover and his “Save The Three Cups as a Heritage Hotel” group, I don’t think the people of Lyme care so much about it being returned as an hotel as we are led to believe.

What the people of Lyme do want, of course, is to see the building made safe and attractive,  an asset to the town centre rather than an eyesore, the provision of jobs, and a much needed access to the Langmoor Gardens.

Palmers have a scheme in place with a revised version being made available for public consultation in a couple of months with, hopefully, a planning application going in later in the year.

If successful, a start could be made next year.

Turning the Cups back into an hotel is not a realistic proposal in the current financial climate. 

The scheme Palmers are putting forward will cost several million but they are businessmen and they will want to see a return on their investment.

The report which went before councillors last week, with all recommendations approved with just a couple of dissenters (now the norm), talked about the council using its position to help steer things forward.

What position? They are not the land owners, they are not the planning authority and what influence they have over the planners they are jeopardising by voting on its future before being asked to comment on the plans. It’s called pre-determination.

They are in a position to influence public opinion - and by golly they have worked hard at that. We should applaud them for that for past town councils did precious little to get Palmers and the planners around a table to come up with a solution.

Hopefully, we now have one. It’s time to see it through to fruition.

Pub where we bought first pint

THOSE of my generation will be disappointed to hear that Palmer’s are planning to finally close the Angel Inn.

The news surprised none of us - we all knew that it was unlikely that the Angel would open again after being closed since 2009.

Dozens of pubs are closing every day up and down the land and it was pretty obvious that a back street pub in Lyme was never going to turn in a profit, having been shut for four years.

But many of us will remember the Angel as the place where we spent a great deal of our misspent youth, playing skittles for the Psychedelic Ravers (yes, that was really our name) and enjoying late night sing-songs. My fellow team members included Barry Rattenbury, Doug Rattenbury, Dick Hodder, Mike Blackmore, Howard Larcombe, Dave Reed - good chaps all of them.

This was in the Swinging Sixties, the best time ever to grow up.

The Angel was where I bought my first alcoholic drink – a pint of Black and Tan for one shilling and a penny – a waste of money as it soon ended up in the River Lim!

The landlord was jovial and kindly Ted Oakes who probably knew we weren’t old enough to drink but always kept us on the straight and narrow, well most of the time. 

It’s where we would have a few pints to build up our Dutch courage before going onto the “Big Beat” dances at the Marine Theatre in the hope we would meet the girl for our dreams.

Some us did. But that’s another story…


I CAN’T let last week’s cup final victory by Lyme Regis Football Club pass without comment. The club I have been connected with for 50 years (having played by first game for the Reserves at the age of 14), picked up the Dorset Intermediate Cup for the eighth time - a record in county football - with a 2-1 victory over Gillingham Town A.

To be honest, it wasn’t a great game of football, local cup finals rarely are,  but it was won in true Seasider style, coming from behind to snatch the winner late in the game with a magnificent goal from Mark Bailey that would grace any cup final. And it was Mark’s 100th goal for the club, a fine achievement.

The final was played at Dorchester Town’s impressive stadium on the extremities of Poundbury and, as always, there was a big contingent from Lyme to cheer on our boys. 

When I arrived at the ground the club bar was already buzzing with supporters and old players and as usual we chatted about cup finals we had played in.  

In my time we never won any county honours but in the years since the name of Lyme Regis FC has appeared many times on the Dorset Junior and Intermediate Cups.

In this standard of football Lyme continues to be one of the most successful clubs in Dorset and I am sure there are many more honours to come. 

It was great seeing all our young players looking so smart in suits and ties, a tradition at the Lyme club. The celebrations were just getting going when we made our way home, with the cup being filled and passed from player to player, and continued, I understand, back at the Davey Fort until the early hours.

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