COUNCIL leader John Beesley is facing an angry backlash after claiming delays on the A338 Spur Road are “easing” and “generally minimal.”

Angry motorists said he is “burying his head in the sand” and said “it is time we had councillors that live in the real world” following his reply to criticism from the Bournemouth Town Centre BID.

The Business Improvement District’s Chief Operating Officer, Paul Kinvig, called on Cllr Beesley to use his influence to reduce the impact of the nine months of roadworks on traders in the town.

He said Christmas trading will be ruined unless the roadworks are suspended for longer over the festive period.

In reply, Cllr Beesley said: “I am told that delays are easing. There will always be some delays and these tend to be worse in the morning peak, travelling south.

“At other times the delays we are seeing are generally minimal. I am updated on a daily basis by my PA who travels at peak times along the A338 from Ashley Heath to Bournemouth.”

He said the BID should be “promoting a more positive message” and added: “If we allow the roadworks and current delays at peak times to become embedded in people’s minds, the impact on retail and our Christmas offer will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Motorists took to social media after reading Mr Beesley’s response in the Daily Echo.

Daniel Rose said: “The council is playing with people’s livelihoods and businesses” and ‘The Irate Commuter’ told Cllr Beesley: “This work is affecting thousands, causing untold pollution, thousands of lost man hours and businesses are suffering.”

Dorset County Councillor and Hurn resident Margaret Phipps has also spoken out saying: “Cllr Beesley asks for some positivity, well I would ask him to look at the reality of this situation which is causing massive disruption which will continue until June 2019.

“There are still long queues morning and evening and other routes are just as bad.”

Read Cllr Phipps' full response here