ANGER is mounting over the constant cycle of roadworks which is jamming roads in Weymouth and Portland and affecting trade.

One businessman is calling for a public meeting to discuss the effect of the blitz – a schedule of roadworks, gas main replacement and waterworks which will continue until next summer.

Pub landlord Pete Smith reckons townsfolk are due an apology and believes there should be some form of compensation, such as free parking, via an agreement with the borough council.

Firms struggling in the recession say the works hit them hard over the summer and will continue to have an effect in the Christmas run-up.

Meanwhile, a petition calling for a business rate freeze is gathering pace with 700 names collected in a week.

Main roundabouts are being overhauled by Dorset County Council as part of the £16million Olympic Transport Package. At the same time bridges are being resurfaced and utility companies are working on schemes to meet next July’s deadline when the Olympic ‘highway’ has to be clear.

Night works were carried out last week on the new Westham Junction which meant access roads around it had to be closed, including a section of Weymouth Way.

Businesses have said that trade has dropped with losses of up to £10,000 a week amid various works.

Mr Smith, landlord of No. 6 in King Street, said firms were struggling due to the recession and the works had come at the wrong time.

He said Dorset County Council should admit it was wrong to dig up roads now and fears it will take years to get confidence back in the town.

Mr Smith said: “The council is hell-bent on providing this supposedly great transport system but they’re in real danger of leaving a legacy of destroying the town centre.

“They’re selling us out.”

He said the idea of the public meeting was to get people together to discuss the impact of the transport package and formulate a response.

Caner Keskin of King’s Kebabs in King Street said it was taking up to 25 minutes to deliver hot food a mile-and-a-half.

Restaurateur George Afedakis launched a petition last week calling for a business rate freeze until the schedule of works ends.

He said: “People have been stopping me in the street to ask whether they can sign. I expect to have 1,000 names very soon.

“We pay business rates because we have business but that’s not the case at the moment. The town is dead because people don’t want to sit in queues and they are going elsewhere.

“We want a good road system but all this work is happening at once. Everywhere you go there are holes – we are turning into a mining town.”

To attend a public meeting about the roadworks call Pete Smith on 01305 771600 (after midday).