EXCEPTIONAL rainfall has delayed work to Dorchester’s recreational grounds, Borough Gardens and other outdoor areas.

Town councillors have been told that the ground has often been so wet that outdoor staff have been forced to abandon tasks for fear of causing damage.

At the Sandringham play area a sink hole opened up near the basketball court and ball wall which has since been made safe with work on a new slide for Salisbury Field postponed until when the ground is firmer.

Assistant town clerk in charge of outdoor services, Carl Dallison, said in a management committee report to councillors that ongoing maintenance work over the main winter months was being “heavily influenced by increasingly wet weather, resulting in, on occasions, complete waterlogging of grass areas. As a result, land-based operations have continued at irregular frequencies for most of the period unlike in previous years. This has placed some pressure on the team to try to achieve a quality service despite the prevailing conditions.”

He said that work has focused on the Sandringham play area with the replacement of aging wooden equipment, the sanding and painting of all wooden items and pressure washing to safety surfaces along with the painting of some metal items and the installation of a seat near to the play area.

Mr Dallison said that the renovation of the fire beacon at Salisbury Field had started late last year but was suspended due to the waterlogging in the area.

Staff have had to re-welded the fire basket in place and also support the main post which had become loose through excess water in the ground with the installation of four small below ground concrete piles to which metal supports, welded to the main post and bolted.

Mr Dallison has also reported the erosion of some gravel paths at the Great Field by rain, which will need to be repaired.