Stubbington Bypass project delayed '“Â and could be at risk '“Â because ofÂ public inquiry
CAMPAIGNERS for a long-awaited bypass scheme have been left angered after two objections have now led to a planning inquiry which will delay the project.
Construction of Stubbington Bypass was due to start at the beginning of next year but, due to a planning inquiry into the Compulsory Purchase Order, the scheme will now be delayed.
Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Sean Woodward said: '˜It is a major inconvenience to have a delayÂ especially when none of the statutory land owners hasÂ an issue.
'˜The Department for Transport saw thisÂ objection and have put the wheels in motion for aÂ planning inquiry and we can't stop them.'
Supporters waited more than 40 years for the project to be fully funded for a road that will run from Titchfield Road to Gosport Road and last year central government handed over the remaining Â£25.7m after a bid from the Solent LEP.
Cllr Woodward added: '˜It is crazy that thisÂ can cause such a delay.'
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said: '˜The Secretary of State for Transport has called for a public local inquiry to be held into thisÂ as there are twoÂ statutory objectors to the Stubbington Bypass compulsory purchase order '“ this is standard practice.'
The inquiry is scheduled for November 26 and 27.Â
Hampshire County Council confirmed the The Department of Transport ('DfT') had them ofÂ its intention to hold a Public Inquiry into the Stubbington Bypass Compulsory Purchase Order and Side Roads Order 2018.
Councillor Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport said: '˜Hampshire County Council is the scheme promoter and we will be delivering the Stubbington Bypass.
'˜We have been carefully planning this since we committed to this major road improvement Â a number of years ago, recognising the importance of this long standing scheme for local people to ease congestion and improve access to Gosport and the Daedalus Enterprise Zone.
'˜The Stubbington Bypass is the final piece of a Â£100 million plus package of road and transport improvements led and implemented by Hampshire County Council in recent years, including the newly opened Newgate Lane South, improvements to Peel Common Roundabout and the imminent BRT Eclipse extension.
'˜The scheme has only reached this stage because Hampshire County Council stepped in not only to put forward a business case for Government and LEP funding, but also to bridge an Â£8.5million funding gap through borrowing against future business rate income from the Enterprise Zone.
'˜Any delays to the scheme could increase costs and jeopardise existing funding arrangements.Â Hampshire County Council has made a commitment to the people of Gosport and Stubbington to tackle local traffic problems so that long term plans for development, regeneration and economic prosperity can move forward, and we will do all we can to achieve this.'
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said: '˜I'm extremely concerned, the future of the entire Stubbington Bypass scheme is at risk as the project needs to be delivered to time to keep it affordable.
'˜This challenge is a disaster for both local commuters and taxpayers, whose money could now be spent on a costly legal battle rather than delivering a solution to our wholly inadequate roads.'
Leader of Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Mark Hook, says that the delays would add to the growing strain on infrastructure in Gosport.
He added: '˜The delay is a great concern for us because the bypass is part of an infrastructure network we need in order to improve the borough.
'˜This is a key part of the infrastructure jigsaw so any delay is bad news.'