THOUSANDS of pounds could be spent researching the viability of a new bypass for a Hampshire village – despite transport bosses already ruling it out.
Eastleigh Borough Council will decide tonight if around £50,000 should be set aside for an “engineering and feasibility study” into a road around Botley to help ease traffic and air quality problems.
But Hampshire County Council, the highways authority, has already said the project is unnecessary and too expensive – with transport boss Mel Kendall deciding earlier this year that it should be ruled out for the next 20 years.
Eastleigh Borough Council has argued that the road is necessary because of new developments planned for the area, including controversial proposals to build up to 1,400 homes at nearby Boorley Green.
Council leader Keith House says he hopes the study will make the county change its mind about the bypass.
He said: “Hampshire County Council believes it will cost a fortune and are not convinced that it’s necessary.
“We’re going to commission a proper report to establish why it’s needed and the cost.
“We will use that as evidence to go back to the county and say here are the real facts.
“The chance of achieving a bypass without the county are very very low. That’s why it’s so important to show just how necessary it is.”
The bypass was included in the controversial draft local plan, which proposes sites for nearly 10,000 new homes across the borough – around 4,700 on greenfield sites.
Residents of Botley were told that developer’s contributions from around 1,400 new homes at Boorley Green would be put towards a bypass for the village and that development would be subject to building the new road.
But changes to the draft local plan to be put to councillors tonight will remove the development’s dependency on completing the bypass.
The area of land at Boorley Green set aside for development has also been increased, along with a larger development planned for Pylands Lane in Bursledon.
A new public consultation on the revised plan will be launched next month, before Government planning inspectors have the final say towards the end of the year.