COUNCIL transport officers are expected to be asked to “investigate” ways to reduce the number of commuters using two Branksome roads as “rat runs” following calls from residents.

Despite both Recreation Road and Playfields Drive having 20mph limits and traffic calming measures, which were installed in the 1990s, residents say that commuters have been using the two streets to avoid congestion on the parallel Ashley Road.

More than 100 people signed a petition calling on Poole council to “address” the problems with some saying that the speed and size of traffic had caused “structural damage” to their homes.

It was handed over at July’s council meeting with a traffic review carried out ahead of the issue being discussed at Thursday’s meeting of its Transportation Advisory Group.

A report to the committee recommended that an investigation of blocking Playfields Drive at its junction with Alder Road be undertaken with two crashes reported at the junction in the past three years.

However, councillors, council officers and residents both raised concerns that this would move the traffic onto other nearby roads rather than reducing traffic.

Julian McLaughlin, head of growth and infrastructure at the council, said: “The problem that we have is that in the 1980s we never completed the main road network in Poole because residents objected to the work.

“We are suffering with a very difficult problem because we don’t have a strategic road network and we won’t be able to get one either due to government policy changes.

“We are now trying to move people away from the use of cars and we have been more successful than anywhere else in the country in getting bus usage to improve.”

Mr McLaughlin added that recent roadworks in the area had exacerbated problems on smaller roads and that more needed to be done to encourage people to use more sustainable transport methods.

“What we can’t do is close these arterial roads as it will just move the move the problem somewhere else,” he added.

The committee agreed to recommend that the council’s cabinet member for transport, Cllr Ian Potter, gives the go-ahead for a full investigation of traffic in both Recreation Road and Playfields Drive to see if there was anything that could be done to resolve the problems.