Donkey sanctuary seeks parking

SIDMOUTH Donkey Sanctuary is hoping to create more parking for residents, Jurassic Coast walkers and visitors.

The sanctuary is preparing a planning application for an as yet unspecified number of additional spaces, which would be in the field currently used for overflow parking opposite the entrance.

They would be available to people from Branscombe wishing to leave their car there and get a bus from the nearby A3052, walkers heading along the Jurassic Coast, and sanctuary visitors.

A footpath would link the car park to the A3052, from where people could access bus services including the X53.

Sanctuary chief executive David Cook said: “There are no real bus routes out of Branscombe, so people go everywhere by car. The idea is to allow them to park here and get the bus, thereby reducing the number of cars on the roads.”

An eco-friendly plastic would be laid, which allows grass to grow up through it but provides a hard surface, so that cars would not get bogged down in bad weather.

There would be no charge or time limit - the parking would be available for as long as the buses run - and users would benefit from the sanctuary’s 24-hour security.

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The plan has its advantages for the sanctuary too, as it currently has just 90 parking spaces, which at peak times are insufficient for the estimated 200,000 visitors a year.

Mr Cook said: “We recognise that extra parking would benefit us as well, it would be nonsense to say it wouldn’t.”

Discussions have taken place with East Devon District Council and First bus group, and Branscombe Parish Council has offered to write a letter in support of the application, due to be submitted by Novemeber.

Beer and Branscombe district councillor Mike Green said: “It fits in with the Jurassic Coast Management Plan, so I think we might be on to a winning streak.”