‘IMMENSE’ delays caused by water repair works were down to a lack of planning, a councillor has said.

Commuters were hit by huge queues for miles around on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning on the A259 due to the work at Rottingdean.

Brighton and Hove City Councillor Bridget Fishleigh visited the works on Wednesday and said she was told by engineers that they had not been told “how busy it would be”.

The Rottingdean Coastal ward councillor said: “Southern Water were not briefed by Brighton and Hove City Council about how important this junction is as a gateway to the city.

“A member of their team on-site said that he wasn’t told how busy the road would be and how there are differences in traffic flow from various directions at different times of the day.

“I would have expected that the council would have a traffic management plan which clearly lays out what the utilities and highways should and shouldn’t do in these situations.

“If it doesn’t, then I will be asking them to write different plans for the major roads into Brighton including Falmer Road, Wilson Avenue and the A259 from Kemp Town to the east.”

The works were carried out by Southern Water to fix a leak at the Rottingdean crossroads.

Andrew Westwood, the authority’s head of traffic management, said: “Brighton and Hove City Council have a legal obligation to coordinate roadworks so that the impact is minimised on the city’s roads.

“The council had little choice but to allow the roadworks at the Rottingdean junction as they were necessary to fix an urgent leak.

“The management of traffic and communication of the roadworks are the responsibility of the statutory undertaker, in this case Southern Water.

“The council place conditions on the approval to carry out works as was the case here. This can include manual management of traffic signals or conditions on hours of working.

“If the utility companies breach the conditions then this is taken up with them.

“The council has a number of inspectors that check works across the city and to make sure the conditions are adhered to and further discussions will be held with the utility company.”

A Southern Water spokesman said: “We’re very sorry our work in Rottingdean caused delays to so many road users and residents, we also apologise for the lack of information available in advance.

“Traffic management on this site was especially challenging as we understand rush hour can be difficult even without roadworks.

“All the work we do is carried out in close consultation with relevant council departments but when work needs to be done, some disruption is inevitable.

“We worked as quickly and as safely as we could and kept the lights manned to try and ease flows as much as possible.

“We also tackled two important jobs at the same time so hopefully we will not have to return in the near future.

“We are especially grateful to the civic minded councillors and residents who were patient and understanding with our works and expressed their feedback over our work.

“I’m also grateful to the patience shown by residents and commuters – sometimes the teams working on digs bear the brunt of people’s frustration even though it isn’t their fault and I’m happy to say that this wasn’t the case at Rottingdean.”