A petition has been launched calling for a bypass to relieve ‘ever-increasing’ traffic problems in a village.

The Chideock Bypass Working Group is seeking signatures for the backing of a bypass around the village which, it believes, will ease congestion. It hopes to divert the A35 trunk road away from the centre of village, claiming it could improve the environment and road safety in the area.

It says traffic delays ‘potentially harm the much-needed economic benefits of local tourism.’ The Chideock Bypass Working Group was set up at the end of 2016 after a public meeting with West Dorset MP Sir Oliver Letwin in May 2016.

Its aim is to revive agreed proposals from the 1990s and take action to build a bypass of the A35 running through the village.

In a statement on its website, the group states: “This group has been created to highlight the ever-increasing problem of the traffic running through Chideock. Our primary concern is for the historic village of Chideock but we are not just thinking about us – we also realise the inconvenience and cost it causes to the people driving through Chideock and to the local and therefore national economy.

“We are extremely proud of our village and the beauty that surrounds it.

“All of this drives tourism to the area and income for the local population.

“This problem has been debated for decades and in fact a bypass was given the go-ahead in 1996 until it was cancelled. The traffic since then has increased 58 per cent.

“We are not NIMBYs, we are genuinely concerned for our village inhabitants.

“All we want is to be heard and work with the necessary organisations that are physically able to make a difference.”

Should the petition hit 10,000 signatures, the government will respond.

The idea of a bypass around Chideock has the village divided. Not all residents agree that a bypass is the best way to tackle traffic issues.

Resident Alan Colville says that while most villagers do acknowledge there are traffic problems, some feel that a bypass is just moving the problem somewhere else.

Mr Colville said: “A bypass could be advantageous to the village, but not one that is moved from one end to the other.

“With the proposed route from the 1990s, it’s moving the problems 200-300 yards down the road. Someone is going to suffer somewhere. “Why risk upsetting our neighbours and other villagers?

“The views aren’t entirely opposing – both identify problems – but one proposes a non-solution.”