Fareham council leader blasts 'hideous' rusty sound reduction barriers along M27
THE placement of ‘hideous’ sound barriers along the M27 as part of its conversion to a smart motorway has provoked an outcry from Fareham’s council leader and residents.
The steel wall, which is designed to rust, is being erected in Funtley alongside the M27.
It is part of a £244 million scheme to convert the road into a smart motorway, with the work due to be completed this September.
But the rusty wall is set to be a permanent fixture, according to Councillor Sean Woodward, the leader of Fareham Borough Council, who was ‘shocked’ at the construction.
In a social media post, Cllr Woodward said: ‘The steel is known as weathering steel that does not require painting. It should only be used in appropriate settings.
‘I cannot believe that next to a residential area and countryside is in any way appropriate and would expect a much more tasteful wooden product accompanied by significant tree planting.’
Speaking to The News, the council leader added: ‘I am waiting to hear from Highways England project sponsor John Henderson, who assures me I will be consulted on their proposals.
‘You can see the difference - and what is possible - by looking at the fencing on Newgate Lane (and) also at Port Solent.’
Blue-coloured sound barriers were placed along the M27 from Cosham to Paulsgrove last January, after a years-long successful campaign led by Port Solent residents and the MP for Portsmouth North, Penny Mordaunt.
But the rusty barriers near Funtley have provoked ‘plenty of upset’, according to Cllr Woodward.
Residents on social media described the scheme as an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘complete disgrace’, with one person comparing it to the Berlin Wall.
But some defended the fencing’s appearance and suggested it may improve as it becomes more weathered, as is intended.
A spokeswoman from Highways England said that it is looking at steps to ‘improve’ the appearance of the barriers.
Speaking to the BBC, she continued: ‘We will consult with Mr Woodward on any potential solution, and will also get feedback from residents before any work takes place.’