RESIDENTS of a Dorset parish dubbed 'the village of the jammed' have launched a High Court bid after the council re-routed lorries through the area's narrow streets.

Those living in Melbury Abbas are raising thousands of pounds to take Dorset County Council to court over a traffic scheme they say has caused "mayhem".

Officials deliberately diverted lorries through the village to save wear and tear on a nearby A-road.

However, the changes - which have now been made permanent - resulted in HGVs regularly getting trapped along the narrow C13 road. On average, the village's 300 residents say they are now 18 traffic jams a week.

Locals are planning to take the case to a judicial review in the High Court in London.

William Kenealy, chairman of Melbury Abbas and Cann Parish Council, said: "We thought the council would see sense and bin this scheme.

"We are baffled as to why they are continuing down this path.

"We have tried every avenue possible but now we are being forced to take them to court in the form of a judicial review, which will be filed in London.

"We hope the courts will agree with us and quash the decision, which will force the council to go back to square one. We don't understand why they think this is a good idea.

"They can't plead ignorance because we have been letting them know about these issues for some time and we're mystified as to why they would want to destroy our village.

"Pursuing the case has cost us about £5,000 out of our own pockets so far to cover legal fees. It will probably end up costing us another around £10,000 which we're hoping to raise through a CrowdJustice campaign."

The traffic problems began in June 2016, when Dorset County Council put up signs directing southbound HGVs to use the C13 instead of the main A350 which runs parallel to it.

The idea was to create an unofficial one-way system for HGVs in the area, with northbound lorries using the A-road.

Since signs were installed, villagers have recorded more than 1,400 jams lasting an average of 27 minutes. Police have had to close the road completely on 15 occasions to sort out blockages, with one HGV coming to within just two inches of colliding with a Grade II listed property.

Mr Kenealy said: "The road is so narrow that even a lorry and a car cannot pass each other, and we've even seen fire engines and ambulances being blocked in and having to turn around.

"It's one thing to put a village at risk but this is potentially putting people's lives at risk."

A spokesman for Dorset County Council said they are continuing to monitor the situation but remain convinced they are making the right decision.

Councillor Daryl Turner, the council's cabinet member for the natural and built environment, said: "We will continue to monitor the situation and ensure that these new measures are having the desired effect.

"We are all in agreement that this option is the better solution at this point in time, but it is by no means the end of the story."