Council row over road hampers Havant Dunsbury Park plans

The Minister for local growth James Wharton with Havant MP Alan Mak and Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones at the turf-cutting ceremony for Dunsbury Hill Farm last year 

Picture: Sarah Standing (160165-1509)
The Minister for local growth James Wharton with Havant MP Alan Mak and Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones at the turf-cutting ceremony for Dunsbury Hill Farm last year Picture: Sarah Standing (160165-1509)
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A ROW between councils over the building of a road is holding up the development of land into a business park expected to create thousands of new jobs, it’s been revealed.

Portsmouth City Council hopes to transform a 45-acre site next to junction three of the A3(M) in Havant into a commercial hub called Dunsbury Park to provide work for 3,500 people.

The question we need to ask is, why didn’t they agree, why didn’t someone have a meeting or decide with Hampshire, what standard they wanted, and whether or not there was a compromise which could have been reached.

Scrutiny managemental panel chairman, Tory councillor Ian Lyon

The authority has finished building an access road to the land so construction can press ahead. But Hampshire County Council isn’t happy with the standard of work, and won’t allow it to become part of its main highway until the city pays to make it better.

Yet the city believes its done the job it was meant to.

The situation was discussed at a meeting of the city’s scrutiny management panel.

The council’s deputy chief executive, Michael Lawther, said: ‘We are satisfied we have constructed it to the right standard, Hampshire doesn’t agree with us.’

Scrutiny managemental panel chairman, Tory councillor Ian Lyon, is concerned.

He said: ‘The question we need to ask is, why didn’t they agree, why didn’t someone have a meeting or decide with Hampshire, what standard they wanted, and whether or not there was a compromise which could have been reached?

‘We understand that if Hampshire adopts that part of the road as part of their network, they wouldn’t want it to be at a lower standard because it would have to repair it earlier. But my question would be “why wasn’t this agreed or dealt with earlier?”.’

A council report says the county has told the city it ‘intents to adopt’ but a ‘defects schedule’ has been issued to the contractor. A settlement needs to be reached on payment to the contractor should the work go ahead. Cllr Lyon said he is still awaiting for council officials to reveal how much costs could be.

The problems, though, have not prevented international clothing brand Fat Face from moving into Dunsbury.

Cllr Donna Jones, council leader, said: ‘This is a really good example of how we can use council assets to generate income, strengthen the local economy and boost jobs.

‘The rental income generated by this scheme can be used to fund vital council services in Portsmouth.’