COUNCILLORS have called for a ‘united front’ as Dorchester faces a battle against time to save a £5million traffic scheme.

Dorset County Council was forced to rethink its Dorchester Transport and Environment Plan (DTEP) last month after proposals met with opposition from members of the public.

It has now given officers six months to come up with an alternative scheme or it could abandon the project all together and has vowed to listen to suggestions put forward by local residents and councillors.

Members of Dorchester Town Council will hold a private meeting next week to discuss the way forward and have floated the idea of a residents’ panel to gather the views of residents.

Chairman of the planning and environment committee Councillor Susie Hosford stressed that the council needed to act quickly on the issue.

She said: “What we need to be aware of is that, while the money for the scheme is there, it’s not going to be there for much longer.

“This council is really wanting to look at ways that we can try and facilitate getting the town’s views forward to the Dorset County Council officers so that we are hopefully all moving forward with a consensus.”

Cllr Hosford added: “We have got to move forward with a united front.

“We want to be proactive and take a lead as a council, we are up against it time wise.”

Cllr Hosford said that a residents’ forum or panel could be used as a way of capturing the views of local people.

She said: “I think it would be very good to find some mechanism for capturing the residents’ views.”

Cllr Karen Armitage said that it was important any residents’ panel represented opinions from people across the town and not just those who had spoken out strongly against the DTEP proposals.

Cllr Molly Rennie added: “This has a huge effect on everybody who lives in the town.”

Members also agreed that it was important to take on board the views of businesses and those who lived in the areas surrounding the town, who used it for work or shopping on a regular basis.