DORSET County Council’s cabinet has given officers six months to come up with a revised transport scheme for Dorchester or it will abandon the project.
The council was forced to look again at the controversial Dorchester Transport and Environment Plan (DTEP) after a £5million scheme provoked opposition from residents of the county town.
The authority has now vowed to listen to suggested alternatives from members of the public as it takes a further look at the plans.
Cabinet member for environment Hilary Cox said at a meeting this morning that the scheme had been in the pipeline for more than ten years.
The latest plans unveiled last summer included a phased approach to the work that the council recognised would not meet all the aims of the scheme when it was first proposed.
Cllr Cox said: “It is apparent that we were never, within the budget available to us, going to be able to fulfil all of the original scheme.”
She said she was ‘extremely disappointed’ at the low level of the response when the plans first went out to consultation last year and, even though greater interest was eventually generated, felt that the final figure of 594 responses was ‘still quite low’.
Of those responses just 17 per cent said they were in support of the current proposal.
Cllr Cox said: “The response gave a lack of support and there was a high level of disquiet at the scheme as proposed.
“We obviously have a scheme that has a lack of support, indeed a level of opposition.”
Cllr Cox proposed that the DTEP team be given until September to look at the options available, including suggestions from local residents and councillors, to try and come up with a more suitable scheme.
Cabinet member for resources Robert Gould urged local members to take the lead to ensure a solution can be found.
He said: “I think it is really essential that the local members take some leadership on this and take a leading role in coming up with something that demands a degree of support across all sectors.”
Cabinet member for adult social care Jill Haynes said: “I really think it’s time to get on and do it or stop it all together.
“I think we need to spend a little time reviewing this and come up with some practical solutions and stop spending an awful lot of money in drawing up expensive solutions.”