Government ministers will be asked to back a Western relief road for Weymouth – and to help pay for improvements to other roads in the area.

Council leader Jeff Cant won almost universal backing from the borough council to take the plea to Minister Jake Berry.

A previous committee resolution, to include the road in the Local Plan, was lost by just one vote earlier in the year.

Cllr Cant had originally only wanted to include the relief road in his plea to the Government but was persuaded on Thursday evening to add in the need for improvements to other roads in the area.

Cllr Ray Nowak said there was little point having the relief road if nothing was done to improve the beach road and the routes up to the top of the island and at Castletown.

“It may improve traffic at Wyke Regis and Boot Hill but it will do nothing to improve things for Portland residents,” he said, arguing for changes to other roads as well.

Cllr Colin Huckle said that eventually the causeway road would need to be rebuilt or replaced and claimed that a new road to Tophill and through Castletown was also required – while improvements ought to also be considered on the route to and from Dorchester where there are increasing delays.

Cllr Margaret Leicester said a third lane needed to be added to the beach road to keep traffic, and emergency vehicles moving when there were problems. She said she had recently taken more than two hours to travel on the road because of an accident.

“What we really want is a new transport system for the whole area,” she said.

Mayor Gill Taylor also spoke of the need for improvements on Lanehouse Rocks Road which she said was “basically collapsing” even before a new housing development was built in the area.

Cllr Lucy Hamilton told the council that because of the UN Heritage Site protection given to the Jurassic Coast any road was likely to have to be at least partially in a tunnel, increasing the cost to more than £250 million – giving it less of a cost-benefit. She said it would be better to invest that money in public transport.

There was criticism of officers at the county council from Cllr Ian Bruce who, he claimed, had constantly told councillors the road would never be built, so there was little point in lobbying for it.

He said, with that attitude, nothing would ever get done.

“We need to tell officers that we want it built and get them to work on it,” he said.

Cllr Cant said the vote sent a “clear and unambiguous message” to the Government that the road was needed because of planned tourist attractions on Portland and the growing popularity of the port as a cruise ship destination, as well as a growth in locally-based industry.

Green Cllr Jon Orrell said that better public transport would keep more people out of cars while attracting jobs to the area would reduce the need to commute for work.

“The answer isn't to build more roads they just attract a growth in cars,” he said

The saga of the relief road around Wyke Regis and Chickerell westwards from Ferrybridge stretched back decades.

The route was not included in the 2015 Local Plan and is not in the current review of that plan, which closes for public consultation on October 15th.

Local MPs Richard Drax and Sir Oliver Letwin have both said they support the road with Sir Oliver claiming that it could unlock enough space for another 25,000 homes in the area.