‘Newgate Lane cash should go on the A32’

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CRITICS have questioned why £8.5m for an overhaul of Newgate Lane isn’t being used on the A32 instead.

Plans have been revealed for a huge transformation of the busy road, which connects Fareham and Gosport.

The government announced last week it had unlocked the final piece of funding necessary for the work to go ahead.

But the leader of Gosport’s opposing Lib Dem party, Cllr Peter Chegwyn, said the money should instead be used to fix the A32 in Gosport and the Quay Street roundabout in Fareham.

Cllr Chegwyn said: ‘It’s just daft. We’re told the government has no money but if they’ve got £8.5m to spend they should spend it on the A32 and the Quay Street roundabout – that’s where the bottlenecks are.

‘Traffic runs smoothly on Newgate Lane, it just gets jammed up at each end so this will achieve nothing.

‘20,000 people commute out of Gosport every day and this won’t help any one of them.

‘I despair when I see decisions taken by faceless bureaucrats in Whitehall without asking the people who really know. Anyone in Gosport will know Newgate Lane is not where the real problem is.’

But the leader of Gosport Borough Council, Tory Cllr Mark Hook, has urged people to look at the bigger picture.

He says traffic chaos on the A32 will die down once Newgate Lane is improved and more jobs are created on the enterprise zone at the former Daedalus airfield.

The £8.5m funding for the Newgate Lane work – which will see the road widended to a dual carriageway between Longfield Avenue and Speedifelds Park – is part of the major plans to build a business zone at the airfield, in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Cllr Hook said: ‘If you create 4,000 jobs on the enterprise zone, and these are people coming from Gosport, then that reduces the amount of people commuting out by 25 per cent. So that takes 25 per cent of traffic off the road, plus we have got Newgate Lane widened and that will take some of the traffic off the A32 as well.

‘These are long-term plans and they are happening – the money and the investment is there. The important thing is that companies have access to the motorway within 10 minutes or so. People don’t use Newgate Lane because if you have a cyclist then the traffic all queues up behind them.’ The secretary of state for communities and local government, Eric Pickles, confirmed last week a final £2m for the Newgate Lane scheme. It will go alongside cash from Hampshire County Council, and the Homes and Communities Agency. The scheme is to be finalised next year and will include new cycleways and footpaths.