MOTORISTS have been stuck for around an hour in traffic around Weymouth due to road closures for the filming of Dunkirk, the Echo has been told.

Film crews are currently hard at work transforming Weymouth Harbour into a Second World War film set, but their efforts are leading to severe traffic in the town.

The team, from upcoming blockbuster Dunkirk, will spend today turning South Parade into a 1940s port using props already spotted along the waterfront.

Electricians are also busy removing lampposts to ensure the set is in keeping with the time period.

However, it has come at a price- heavy traffic has built up along the Esplanade as a result of the closure of Custom House Quay.

Motorists are now advised to avoid the area between the Pavilion and King Street.

Another resident said: “It’s chaos. There are people who’ve been stuck for an hour.

“If an ambulance had to get through it wouldn’t stand a chance.

“It could be solved easily if they allowed traffic to go both ways along the one-way system, over the bridge and out of town.

“I have told highways about this so many times- it’s every time the harbour is closed off; Seafood Festival or filming. But this is utter madness.

“The council doesn’t listen, I can’t get through to highways and the police said it’s highways that has to deal with it.

“It’s like pushing water uphill trying to get anything done.”

Resident Bob Underwood said: "This town needs holidaymakers and tourists, but when it gets like this, it just puts people off coming here because no one wants to spend an hour and a half in the car."

Bob said he had attended a residents' meeting about the filming where he had aired this concern, but no members of the council were present.

Borough councillor Francis Drake, who owns a café in the town centre, said he was "disgusted" by the situation.

He said: “Residents have been phoning me this morning to complain as they’re trying to move around town. Highways is a Dorset County Council issue and it seems we’ve been left to deal with it.

“The film is good for the town and I’m sure it will generate trade at a later date but there needs to be a plan in place that considers the movement of traffic when the harbour is closed.

“Every time we have an event at the harbour and the road is closed we have this problem. Dorset County Council needs to have a masterplan in place, a long-term strategy to keep traffic moving.

“As well as being a holiday town residents want to be able to move around and it’s just not happening. We want to encourage tourists here but when they are taking an hour to get along the Esplanade they won’t be coming back here again.

“The traffic is heavy at the best of times in the summer but this is totally unacceptable. It’s disgusting.”

The council says it has warned motorists of the closures but they have not "heeded the warnings".

A Dorset County Coucil spokesman said: "We are aware of the major disruption on the Esplanade which is part associated with road closure of Custom House Quay for filming and heavy traffic.

"Matrix signs on the outskirts of town have been advising of road closures around Harbour all day. They have now been switched to say avoid the Esplanade. Seems as though drivers have not been heeding the warnings.

"We are manually controlling The Esplanade traffic lights to clear the queue between Pavilion and King Street as a matter of priority and following the congestion on CCTV. We have also notified radio stations and other media via our travel news contacts at INRIX media."

Users of the Park and Ride in Weymouth were left disgruntled by long queues and lengthy delays.

Kevin Farnfield, from Poole, said: “The queue by King’s Statue was a mile long and once we got on the bus, it was packed.

“I shouldn’t think the locals are very happy.

“It was so packed, they should have a double decker to get people to and from the Park and Ride.

“We were frequent users but this has put us right off.”

Dorset Echo:

Stars come to town

It is top secret which of the film's big names, including Tom Hardy, Harry Styles and Cillian Murphy, will arrive in town tomorrow, with even the crew being kept in the dark.

Emma Baker, a holidaymaker from Hornchurch, Essex, said: "It's all very exciting, yesterday a security guard told me that Tom Hardy will be coming down tomorrow, but that was all he said. It's a shame because we are due to go home tomorrow."

It is rumoured the harbour will be used as the location of an epic battle scene with filming starting in the early hours tomorrow and set to continue until 2am Saturday morning.

Parking for Thursday night's sell-out performance of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at the Pavilion will be limited.

Patrons are advised to use the Park and Ride from the Mount Pleasant site to the King's Statue where a free-of-charge shuttle bus will be laid on to transfer people to the Pavilion.

The last return bus will leave at 12.10am.

Alternate car parking is also available at North Quay and the Swannery car park, any queries please contact the Box Office.