Urgent talks are underway to find a solution as a Weymouth road faces collapse due to coastal landslides.

Concerns have been expressed that part of Old Castle Road may have to be rerouted across the Rodwell Trail and via small back roads if the situation cannot be resolved.

Up to 90 homes would be affected if the land slips further and the road has to be closed.

Old Castle Road is situated atop cliffs above Castle Cove beach.

But erosion is bringing the precipice treacherously close to the highway, with one lane of traffic now closed following the most recent landslip.

Meanwhile, the landowner of the affected area - who also owns part of Castle Cove - has put both the land and the beach up for sale, recently reducing the price from £1,000,000 to £600,000.

Dorset Council has recently taken control of the situation after previously stating the responsibility lay with private landowner C&L Developments, which is building three luxury homes at the site.

The council has appointed an independent expert to carry out a study, but it has emerged that ‘plan B’ is to reroute access to properties via back roads – and campaigners want action to be taken before this happens.

In 2009 a report commissioned by the former Weymouth & Portland Borough Council warned that up to 40 homes could be cut off in 20 years’ time if no action was taken.

Campaigners have long been calling for change, but have praised Dorset Council for being proactive since the authority took control.

Resident Steve Elsworth said: “We’re feeling confident due to these new developments and are waiting to see what happens next.

“Dorset Council has to have a plan B – if the road collapses they have a duty of care to the 90 households further down from the landslip.

“They would have to go up Parr Way (across the Rodwell Trail), Boleyn Crescent and Hillcrest Road. As a plan B it’s bordering on the nonsensical - these are little roads and it would be difficult to get through - there would be an enormous amount of disruption."

Local councillor Clare Sutton has previously spoken out about her concerns, but welcomed the council's new stance.

She said: “I’m extremely reassured by the fact that one lead officer is now coordinating Dorset Council’s response across different teams. They have appointed a highly experienced consultant to undertake the necessary surveys and are currently preparing the formal brief."

Cllr Sutton also praised the highways team for putting sandbags in place to prevent surface water causing another landslip.

She added: “I have been passing on suggestions from local residents, such as the sandbags, as an interim measure to reduce run off, and am really pleased these have been taken on board.

"Highways staff came down to check where the water was running on Good Friday and placed the sandbags the day before further rain was forecast.

“I’m grateful (to council staff) for responding to concerns.”

A Dorset Council spokesman said: “Due to the development land on Old Castle Road now being for sale, Dorset Council has expediated the investigation into the landslip as there is now no timeframe for a development, meaning the slip could be left unattended for years.

“Although the slip is on private land, the council is concerned about the effect it might have on the continued use of Old Castle Road.

“Dorset Highways is looking into what alternative access could be provided if Old Castle Road had to be fully closed along the landslip area. As part of this, engineers have been out assessing potential access across the Rodwell Trail to Parr Way.

“A specialised geotechnical consultant, Jacobs, has also been contracted to collate and review all existing information on ground movement in this area, examine the current condition of the site and provide a professional opinion on the likely progress of cliff recession.”

Meanwhile, John Burridge, Bridges and Structures Team Leader, said: “We’ve placed sandbags along the edge of the road and across the end of the footpath down to the beach to ensure rainwater flows into highway drains. This will stop water from the road flowing over the edge and having a detrimental effect on the slipped ground.

“A report detailing the ground conditions and likely progression of the slip should be available to us by the end of June, we’ll then be able to plan what works are needed.

“Any changes in access to Old Castle Road via Parr Way, if required, will be done in consultation with local residents.”