At his recent decision day, Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Hampshire County Council and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, approved recommendations relating to several workstreams currently underway in the Waterside area of the New Forest, which will feed in to a Waterside Transport Strategy that is currently being drafted. The workstreams include measures to improve capacity along the northern section of the A326, including significant improvements for walkers and cyclists, as well as the development of early business case work. Having taken into account changing circumstances relating to Government funding and planned future development in the area, Cllr Humby also approved work to review and develop the business case for reintroducing passenger rail services on the Waterside Line, and to undertake a public consultation on the draft Waterside Transport Strategy.
Cllr Humby said: “We’ve put together a strong vision for the future of the Waterside including transport improvements that are integral to the area’s potential economic growth - outlined in the ‘Waterside Vision’ document. Improvements in the local transport infrastructure here will have a significant impact on local people being able to live safe, healthy and independent lives. The forthcoming Waterside Transport Strategy will enable the County Council to proactively plan ahead and respond to development applications based upon a robust evidence base.”
Consultation on the strategy will take place in Spring 2021.
The County Council is also working with the developers of the recently approved Fawley Waterside site to design and deliver an £8.5m package of junction improvements on the more southerly part of the A326 between Main Road (north of Dibden) and the B3053 at Church Lane (Fawley), for which around £5.5m of Solent LEP funding has been secured. The junction schemes and pedestrian/cycle improvements will be delivered by Hampshire County Council, with the remainder of the funding provided by the Fawley Waterside developer. Delivery of these improvements is planned continue to autumn 2021.
More information about the Waterside Transport Strategy Can be found in the decision day papers.