PLANNERS have spoken of the effect a new bypass will have on a borough during a public inquiry.
Hampshire County Council highlighted the Stubbington Bypass as being crucial to improving Gosport’s economy and employment rate at the inquiry yesterday which is being held after an objection against the Compulsory Purchase Order and Side Roads Order from resident Rose Christopherson.
Previously Southern Electric Distribution Plc also made an objection to the CPO but this was resolved and the objection was withdrawn on November 1.
The county council’s principal transport planner Jason Tipler said: ‘Improving access to the Gosport and Fareham peninsula is a key priority for the Solent LEP in order to remove transport barriers to economic growth and to help encourage new investment and development into the area.
‘Improving accessibility in the area will have a positive impact upon the local economy and important strategic sites including the designated Solent Enterprise Zone (SEZ) at Daedalus Airfield.
‘Gosport is in the bottom 20 per cent in the country in terms of job rates and has seen a loss of 7,000 jobs in the last 10 years thanks to a declining job base and a number of Ministry of Defence sites closing.’
The county council also listed a number of reasons the multi-million scheme was important for surrounding areas including improving air quality and the reliability of roads.
Mrs Christopherson questioned the council on the predicted saved journey time of two minutes as well as the planned bypass route and the continuing problems at Quay Street roundabout which has a road off leading to Gosport.
She said: ‘The main traffic problems are at that roundabout and have been for 40 years. This bypass is going to do nothing to solve that.’
Mrs Christopherson will present her case today.
Campaigners waited more than 40 years for the project to be fully funded for the bypass that will run from Titchfield Road to Gosport Road and construction was due to start early next year but proceedings have been delayed due to the inquiry.
Bill Hutchinson, chair of the Hill Head Residents’ Association, spoke in support of the plan at yesterday’s meeting.bypass itself.
Mr Hutchinson said: ‘We accept that this bypass will go right through the Stubbington, Fareham, Lee-on-the-Solent Strategic Gap but there is an overriding need to reduce the amount of traffic going past Stubbington village on the current route and, in our view, the new bypass should be built.
‘As I am sure you are aware, Fareham is under terrific pressure from central government to build thousands of extra new houses over and above what is in the local plan, some of which are very likely to be near the bypass itself.
‘That reinforces the need for the bypass as, without it, rat runs through Stubbington and Hill Head will increase and journey times for both businesses and residents will lengthen to an unacceptable level and help deter business investment on the Gosport peninsula.’