AFTER a 40-year wait the final piece of the funding jigsaw to make the Stubbington bypass project a reality is now in place.

Works on the £34 million scheme are likely to start in 2018/19 and will take approximately two years.

It comes after an announcement that the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) receive a government cash injection of £31.02 million to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth.

The LEP will pass on £25.7 million from the pot to the Stubbington bypass project which it is hoped will will improve connections to Fareham and Gosport with a new 3.5km road with pedestrian and cycle provisions.

The bypass will divert traffic around the outskirts of the Stubbington village, reducing journey time and peak hour congestion onto and off the Gosport peninsula, as well as providing additional road network resilience.

The project comes as part of multi-million pound package of investment into Hampshire road including improvements to Newgate Lane, Peel Common roundabout, St Margaret's roundabout and the A27 towards Segensworth roundabout.

The remainder of the cash will be used as part of the Solent Productivity Investment Fund - which is used for projects which invest in local skills and infrastructure - details for these projects will be announced in due course.

Solent LEP is also planning to bring forward the next phase of development at Centenary Quay in Southampton - a scheme which will in turn help will unlock over £64 million in funding, as part of a separate deal, allowing more than 340 new homes to be built.

This latest investment, announced by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid on Thursday, will add to the £151.9 million pot of funding already awarded to the Solent LEP by the government - which all together could see 6,500 jobs created, 12,000 homes built and £600 million in additional funding invested in the area over the next five years.

Councillor Rob Humby, who is responsible for environment and transport at Hampshire County Council, said he was delighted by the announcement.

He added: "Hampshire County Council has dedicated a great deal of time securing planning permission and preparing business cases for the scheme, following engagement with local residents and business communities.

"We know this major infrastructure project is needed and backed by the very people the investment is designed to benefit. We have also demonstrated our own commitment to this project by assigning £8.5 million towards it.

"This is one of the biggest scheme by far that Hampshire County Council has delivered to date, and we look forward to the exciting time ahead."

Gary Jeffries, the Solent LEP chairman said the Solent economy had huge potential and the investment for the Stubbington Bypass represented a major boost to the region.

He added: "The bypass was identified as a key scheme within our Transport Investment Plan, however, we know there is more work to do and we will continue to work with both local partners and national agencies in the coming years to secure the further investments which will unlock growth opportunities in Southampton, Portsmouth and on the Isle of Wight."

Mr Javid said as part of efforts to deliver an economy which worked for everyone, the government was devolving powers and resources directly from Whitehall to the people who knew what was best for their area.

He added: "That is why we’re giving £31.02 million new money to the Solent to give businesses the support and opportunities they need to achieve their potential – on top of the £151.9 million we have already awarded."