VERGES and other off-road areas are being left in a mess by contractors digging up the county’s road – a Dorset Council meeting had heard.

Sherborne councillor Jon Andrews says that, across the county, all too often when roadworks finish the contractors patch up the tarmac but do nothing to repair the verges and other off road areas they have driven over, or dumped their equipment on.

“I have had reason to report that and nothing has been done about it… could we make sure action is taken when a councillor reports something like that happening?” Cllr Andrews told Thursday’s Place and Resources Scrutiny committee.

He was told that the council did have powers to ensure that repairs were made when damage was caused and urged councillors, and others, to report issues as soon as they arose.

Weymouth councillor Brian Heatley said he would like to see something done to undermine the myth that whenever a road was being dug up it was, almost always, seen as the fault of Dorset Council, alhough in many cases it was utility companies carrying out the work.

Highways portfolio holder Cllr Ray Bryan said that roadwork queries made up about one-third of his mailbox, many of the incidents down to Southern Gas Networks which, he said, were dealing with a number of leaking pipes across the county at the moment.

Cllr Bryan said these emergency works often led to the most complaints about a workforce not being on site although this was often down to a pipe needing to be vented, which did not require anyone to be there, with staff then returning to make and finish the repair, often a day or two later.

The meeting heard that last year Dorset Council dealt with around 30,000 permits for road closures, or part-closures, all of which had to be assessed and were challenged when timescales asked for were believed to be too long.