THE fate of a bypass that will significantly reduce congestion now rests in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, The News can reveal.
And a plea has been made for the government to provide crucial funding in the Autumn Statement to avoid the ‘devastating’ blow of it not being built.
‘It is not just about getting in and out of Gosport but also for the importance of the Daedalus Enterprise Zone, which is a flagship government programme.Caroline Dinenage
The proposed Stubbington bypass would act as an alternative route from Gosport to Fareham and reduce heavy traffic on the A32 during peak hours.
The overall cost of the project will be £34.2m. Hampshire County Council has already promised £8.5m of that.
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership has now submitted its Regional Growth Fund bid to government and the £25m needed to get the bypass built will be decided in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement on November 23.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has met Mr Hammond to make a plea on the importance of the project.
She has also held meetings with the secretary of state for transport, Chris Grayling, and the local growth minister, Andrew Percy to raise local traffic problems and request the government correct the historic lack of investment in infrastructure in the Gosport constituency.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘I’ve been meeting the ministers to cover all bases and inform them of the relevance the bypass will have.
‘When I was first voted in as MP, I was told that I should give up on getting a road in and out of Gosport because we’re a peninsula.
‘It is not just about getting in and out of Gosport but also for the importance of the Daedalus Enterprise Zone, which is a flagship government programme. The government want us to create prosperity and jobs and that is what we are doing on the Enterprise Zone.’
Although Ms Dinenage has made a case to the Chancellor, there still is a possibility that the Stubbington Bypass will not be included.
She added: ‘I think that we are now as close as we are ever going to get to completing the project.
‘If we do not get the money it would be really devastating and would have to go back to the drawing board.’
The route is expected to generate around 140,000sq m of employment space. It will cover 2.3 miles from Titchfield Road to Gosport Road with the road given planning permission by the county council last year.
Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘I’ve been driving the project for four years. I was the main executive of transport at the county council.
‘We’re pleased they’re making a contribution and we will be contributing from Fareham business rates.
‘If we don’t get the funding, I think it has potential to stall development in the local area, especially on the Daedalus Enterprise Zone.’
Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘I’m extremely hopeful and Caroline has worked so hard meeting with both chancellors.
‘It would reduce traffic on the A32 by 25 per cent and I am confident it will be including in the Autumn Statement.
‘Should it not be the case, we need to look within Hampshire. It is just as important to Gosport as it is to businesses in the areas that these people are commuting to.’
Fareham MP Suella Fernandes said: ‘It will be hugely beneficial to my constituents in Fareham and residents in the wider area, reducing journey times and congestion during rush hour, enhancing connectivity around Fareham and Gosport, and supporting local businesses to grow.’
When asked by The News for a comment, a spokesman from the Department of Transport said: ‘The position is we are considering a Local Growth Fund bid from Solent Local Enterprise Partnership for a range of investment to support growth.’