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Council's Told To Invest In Broadband Not Transport Links

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8:19am 13th December 2013

Councils should focus more on improving broadband instead of transport links between Dorchester and Weymouth.

That's according to a team from the Local Government Association who said future plans by West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland to improve the transport network, are "not realistic" in the economic climate.

The LGA made a number of recommendations following their visit to look at the Shared Services Partnership between the two councils.

David Clarke Chief Executive of West Dorset says getting feedback from an external source is helpful as they try to bridge the funding gap;

"We're not too proud to use ideas we learn from other authorities across the county. As the government grant to local government falls we want to create new areas where we can generate new sources of income that make us less reliant on government grants."

The LGA review said: "Transport infrastructure is a priority for both councils with both seeking "improvements to the highway and rail services by December 2016". This does seem ambitious in the current economic climate.

The Olympics led to the development of an £89m5 mile A354relief road to expedite the movement of Olympic traffic between the towns of Weymouth and Portland, and Dorchester. This has reduced the travel time from Weymouth to Dorchester to circa 15 minutes from the previous 45 minutes. This is an important development to consolidate the Dorchester and Weymouth travel to work area with high levels of commuter travelling between the two.

However, other significant transport infrastructure is not realistically expected

In the absence of enhanced transport infrastructure then high speed broadband assumes even greater importance to support local economies and growth. It is expected that 95 per cent of Dorset domestic and business premises will be covered by high speed broadband by December 2016"

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