Route outlined for tunnel from Isle of Wight to Fareham – but council leader remains unconvinced

PLANS have been unveiled for the route of a proposed tunnel that would connect the Isle of Wight to rest of the Solent.

Proposals from Pro-Link suggest that a route could be drawn up from the Isle of Wight to the Solent, with two entry and exit points on the mainland.

Artist impression of the Solent Freedom Tunnel portal at Whippingham, Isle of Wight. Picture: Able Connections Ltd

Artist impression of the Solent Freedom Tunnel portal at Whippingham, Isle of Wight. Picture: Able Connections Ltd

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These plans show a tunnel route going underneath Lee-on-the-Solent and Solent Airport. Cars would be able to leave at Peel Common Roundabout, or carry on to just north or Fareham, where a dual carriageway would meet a proposed new junction near Junction 9.

The tunnel would start on the Isle of Wight near Lushington Hill.

But while campaigners for the tunnel are confident about the scheme, leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Sean Woodward, says that the scheme would not be accepted in its current format.

Chairman of Pro-Link Carl Feeney said: ‘I’ve been confident about this for the last four years.

‘The Solent Tunnel is something that is so clearly required that it has got to be done.

‘After four years we’re still in the initial stages, but things are looking more and more promising each day.’

But Cllr Woodward says that the scheme would not go ahead if it was proposed in its current state, saying that he will not allow Solent Airport and residential areas to be compromised by work underground.

He said: ‘They are proposing a new motorway link with no regard for Highways England, the smart motorway or the new Junction 10.

‘They don’t seem to have any money and want to build under Solent Airport and a number of houses; they would have to dig up the runway and a lot of residential space and that is simply not happening.’

Mr Feeney says that discussions have been held with Fareham Borough Council, both directly and through the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH).

‘I have been liaising with the local authorities throughout this process,’ saidMr Feeney.

‘They support the implementation of a study, which shows quite clearly that this link is needed.

‘We spoke with Push about a year ago and they said that the scheme is a good one.’

Cllr Woodward said: ‘They did come to speak with Push and Fareham Borough Council – but that was a while back and I haven’t seen a viability study since then.

‘It’s just not a scheme that I can see as feasible at the moment.’