Inadequate roads will keep firms away, inquiry told

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PLANNING experts have warned a council that a lack of decent road access could keep businesses out of the area.

On the final day of a public inquiry into the future development of Fareham borough, consultant Bryan Jezeph said he would not advise businesses to move into Fareham or Gosport.

Mr Jezeph, who is based in Titchfield, said: ‘If an employment person came to my practice asking where they should be I would not say south of the motorway, I would say: “How about Winchester or Havant?” because the linkages are so poor here.

‘We have a policy here of advocating growth where there is no room for growth.’

And he warned that Fareham Borough Council is relying on proposals for a new town of up to 7,500 homes at north Fareham, known as the strategic development area, to solve its transport infrastructure problems.

He added: ‘We are relying on the SDA to provide extra capacity to somewhere already running at capacity.

‘Because of the recession and the lack of housing development taking place outside of the SDA, the level of funding from developers is going to be very, very low – lower than most authorities in south Hampshire because of the way the plan is structured.’

Poor transport links between Fareham and Gosport, particularly the need to improve the A32 and Newgate Lane, were also raised as problems.

Chartered surveyor Derek Marlow said: ‘Everybody recognises how appalling the traffic situation down Newgate Lane and Gosport Road is and I am sure that Gosport suffers economically as a result.’

The council said it would keep proposals for a Stubbington bypass ‘under review’, but that it did not believe that a solid case for the route had yet been made.

Plans for an extra route out of Gosport have been floated for decades, but have never reached fruition.

Richard Hudson, a planning consultant acting for the council, said: ‘There is a major application going in for government funding for the south Hampshire area and there’s potentially a lot of money there for a whole host of improvements.’

In closing, inspector Michael Hetherington said that he expected the finished report to be made public by early August.

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