I have had a good many rather irate constituents contact me recently about the new Dorchester traffic plan.

Some of these constituents are in Dorchester – and they have raised various objections to the plan. Others are in Charminster, where there seems to be a considerable concern about the effects the plan might have on traffic through the village.

At the time of writing, I am just about to have a meeting with the relevant officer from Dorset County Council – so I shall be interested to hear the County Council’s side of the argument.

I have learned over the years that these things are always more complicated than they appear at first, and there may be good reasons for some of what the County Council has in mind. But I have to say that I do start from a position of considerable scepticism following the saga of on street parking in Bridport.

In that particular case, there was a remarkably robust rejection of the proposals in Bridport itself – and I am delighted to say that the County Council was very responsive once it realised that the proposition did not command local support. There are encouraging signs that the County Council is ever more inclined to respond to local opinion – and I hope that, if it does turn out that Dorchester itself is not persuaded by the plan, the County will be as flexible as in the case of the Bridport parking.

It’s always difficult in public affairs to know when to stick to your guns, on the grounds that nothing really important is ever achieved without considerable controversy, and when to alter course on the grounds that something is being done only in order to improve life for a group of people and that group of people doesn’t feel that life would be improved by the move in question. This is the kind of difficult decision that has to be made every day by all levels of government.