POLITICIANS say they have been left ‘encouraged’ about work to improve congestion on the M27 after a meeting with the Department for Transport.
Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery and Fareham’s council leader Sean Woodward, who is also the executive member for transport at Hampshire County Council, met Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DfT.
The meeting was called to discuss major congestion problems in the area, such as at Junction 9 and Junction 10, traffic levels on the motorway and the Stubbington bypass.
Mr Hollingbery said: ‘We went away happy that we have been listened to.’
The MP wrote to the minister last year to raise concerns about Junction 9 at Park Gate.
Planned improvement works were put on hold by Highways England due to funding problems, despite thousands of homes being planned for north Whiteley.
Preparatory work had been completed by Highways England, although work stalled, possibly for two years.
Mr Hollingbery wanted assurances that this work would be made a top priority.
They also spoke about work to improve Junction 10, which will provide access for new 6,000-home town Welborne, due to be built on fields north of Fareham.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘There cannot be housing without the infrastructure, that’s the simple message we wanted to get across. The government wants housing and we need infrastructure, that’s why I was there – to drive home the message and to get commitments.’
The heavily-congested M27 was also talked about, with Highways England saying it intends to start work to turn it into a Smart motorway – with variable speed limits and usable hard shoulders – in 2018/19.
They also discussed the bid for money to build a long-awaited Stubbington bypass, which has permission but is yet to secure the money it needs to go ahead.
Yesterday, a meeting was held at the Solent LEP to discuss the bypass and it was agreed that an outline business case would be put forward to investigate granting the cash it needs.