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South Downs National Park to oppose major Hampshire road scheme

THE South Downs National Park has agreed to oppose the major proposed revamp of the M3 Junction 9 near Winchester.

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) has concerns over the environmental impact of the huge scheme, estimated to cost between £190-220million.

Its planning committee met on Thursday to discuss a report which will be submitted to National Highways.

Committee members, comprising councillors from authorities within the park that stretches from Winchester to Eastbourne, supported the written response to object to the proposal.

The committee recommended the National Park Authority’s chief executive approve it and submit it to the planning inspector.

The planning inspectorate will hold an examination in public to analyse the scheme and its impact.

Approximately 62 per cent of application boundary for this proposed scheme falls within the National Park, the majority of the remaining development area is within the setting of the National Park.

“Of the approximate 68 hectares of land within the National Park, approximately 32 hectares would be permanent land take for the highways works and an additional 33 hectares would be temporarily taken during the construction period.

“In summary, the proposal requires land from within the National Park: to construct new roads / links and associated drainage and other works, provide a site for the temporary construction compound, and provide land for various proposed mitigation measures.

In the national park's written representation about the scheme, it said: “Where the SDNPA differs from the applicant, is over the extent to which the detrimental effects to the environment, landscape and recreational opportunities have been moderated, whether the benefits of the scheme outweigh the environmental, landscape and recreational costs very significantly and whether the scheme will be carried out to high environmental standards and includes measures to enhance the environment.

“The proposed central temporary construction compound and associated haul roads / access tracks causes significant adverse harm which is entirely avoidable.

“It is the SDNPA’s view that insufficient consideration has been given to locating the proposed main / central compound outside the National Park, in a less sensitive location.

There is another compound (referred to as Badger Farm) located outside the National Park, which is / was being used by the ‘Smart Motorway’ team working in and around Junction 9.

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