When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Botley bypass plans shelved for at least 20 years
PLANS for a £30m bypass for a Hampshire village have been scrapped – for at least 20 years.
The scheme proposed for Botley has been in the pipeline for more than a decade – but Hampshire County Council has now shelved the project.
Council chiefs said they had not seen evidence to justify building a bypass, despite plans for thousands of new homes in Hedge End, Boorley Green and North Whiteley.
Campaigners have pleaded with them to reconsider – with Botley Parish Council chairman Colin Mercer saying the relief road was vital for the survival of a “strangled community”.
Dr Mercer said 14,000 vehicles passed through the village in an average 12-hour period.
The congested village’s high street has recently been designated an “air improvement management area” because of high levels of nitrogen dioxide.
He said a planning blueprint for Eastleigh up to 2029 includes proposals for 2,400 new homes in Hedge End and Boorley Green – and an area of land around Botley is earmarked for a bypass in the document.
Eastleigh Borough Council has previously said that developer contributions from these projects could be used to help fund the bypass scheme.
Speaking after the meeting, Rupert Kyrle, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Botley and Hedge End, said: “Hampshire County Council say they haven’t got the money, but they have got hundreds of millions in reserve and there’s potential for community infrastructure levy money as well – so they could find the money.
"It’s a sad day for Botley and I feel very sorry for the residents – this is a big disservice to them.”
Council chiefs said they would not abandon Botley bypass but it should be “a longer-term policy aspiration”.
Previous local plans for both Eastleigh and Winchester have earmarked land for Botley bypass, but county officials recommended it should be removed until 2029.
The council said relatively little extra traffic from the major development area at North Whiteley was expected to use Botley bypass, as most would travel on the M27.
Eastleigh council leader Keith House said he would continue to campaign for a bypass.