NORTH Dorset residents living near the at risk Dinah’s Hollow route claim they are being ignored by Dorset Council.

Roy Phillips said that despite promises the unitary council had still not responded to the concerns of Melbury Abbas and Cann parish council, or local residents after two months.

He was also critical of the short time given for residents to comment on proposals to stabilise the banks above the road which, he said, amounted in one case to just two days.

Cllr Ray Bryan, highways portfolio holder, said that all views about the slope stabilisation works proposals, both before and after the deadline, had been read by councillors.

He told a meeting of the Cabinet that the council had a duty to maintain safe passage on the road and was doing all that it could. He assured councillors that the authority would take local concerns about vegetation, drainage and the possible effects of climate change into account: “the environment issues in the Hollow will guide our work here. Before any scheme proceeds, new ecological, tree and landscape surveys will be undertaken.  The use of soil nails is currently seen as a measured and proportionate response to the threat posed, but of course geotechnical design will need to be reviewed against current best practice and site conditions that may have changed,” he said.

Cllr Bryan said that the current proposals had come about as a result of a detailed appraisal of the ground conditions and the ecology of the area. He said, despite claims from residents, there were no plans to remove all the trees, although some would have to be felled, which would be replaced.

“This would allow more daylight into the Hollow and the growth of new plants and saplings through the mesh to create a more varied habitat.  Ecology will govern the time of year that construction and maintenance operations take place to minimise the impact,” said.

“Please be assured that there are no plans to change the traffic management within Melbury Abbas. If the proposals are adopted and funding is allocated, the traffic signals limiting traffic flow to a single lane at the lower end of the Hollow will remain. The temporary concrete barriers will no longer be required. The advice given to HGV traffic will not change and retention of the signals will not make the route more attractive for traffic in general... Whatever the outcome, the decision will not be taken lightly and will be made in the best interest of Dorset as a whole.”

Council leader Spencer Flower said there had been a considerable response to Cabinet papers on the issue and he was confident the council had complied with its own rules.