Council forced to defend road resurfacing as ‘other roads were in more need’
The resurfacing of Dorchester’s Queen’s Avenue has been defended by Dorset Council after a claim that nearby roads are in greater need.
The western section of the road, a cul de sac, leading to one of the Thomas Hardye School car parks, is among the most expensive place to live in the town with just 32 mainly detached houses along its length.
The resurfacing of the road has cost £50,600.
Dorchester town councillor, Janet Hewitt, who lives in the area, says she is amazed that work has been carried out on Queen’s Avenue, for the second time in three years, when there is a pressing need to resurface other roads nearby which are busier and used as a short cut by drivers trying to avoid the Maumbury Cross traffic lights.
“I don’t really see how they can justify spending all this money on Queen’s Avenue, which is hardly a busy road, when Clarence Road, which is very busy, is in a dreadful state and has been for years,” she said.
Clarence Road has been repeatedly patched over the last three years and has a surface which is cracking up with the start of new pot holes. The road has, effectively, become a single carriageway for most of the time during the week because of unlimited free parking, taken advantage of by town centre workers.
But Dorset Council says the giving Queen’s Avenue priority was justified: “We annually collect comprehensive road condition assessment data which looks at a range of defects on the carriageway. This data is used to identify and prioritise programmes of work countywide, combined with other data sets to include defect repairs, use of the road / access to amenities, schools etc.
“Queens Avenue had been the subject of historic enquiries about the need for it to be resurfaced and had been identified as a priority site by the Community Highways Officer who conducts safety inspections of the road. The condition assessment data supported its inclusion in the programme. Queens Road serves the car park to the rear of The Thomas Hardye School, as well as the recreational sports fields.
“The funding for Queens Avenue resurfacing came from additional Department for Transport funding linked to the proactive prevention of potholes, and the works were estimated to cost £50,604.
“Clarence Road was extensively patched a couple of years ago, though, from the condition assessment it’s apparent that some of the remaining sections are starting to fail…
“If Dorset Council receives further Pothole Action Funding from the Department for Transport next year as expected, we have a list of priority schemes that we are currently designing, of which Clarence Road has been identified as one of those, based on a recent assessment which factored in the recent pothole repair activity,” said a statement from the council.
The last resurfacing in Queen’s Avenue, along its eastern end, also attracted criticism when it was carried out at a similar time of the year in 2016. Then some residents complained that the operation to re-surface the pavements had damaged tree roots – an allegation which was denied by the then Dorset County Council.
Dorchester residents, when polled on social media, say other roads in the town also need work – naming Poundbury Road and Britannia Way as particularly bad examples of where resurfacing is needed as well as the road which leads to the town’s household recycling centre at Louds Mills, a route which also frequently floods.