Councillors on the Mainland have expressed ‘fury’ at learning through the press of proposals for a Solent Tunnel fixed link between the Isle of Wight and the Mainland.
The Southern Daily Echo is reporting the views of Fareham Borough council’s leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, over the “£1 billion Cross-Solent tunnel project that could cause traffic ‘chaos'”.
Fareham Council leader: “Unrealistic and unfunded project”
Cllr Woodward told the Daily Echo,
“I am very surprised, given that there are by definition two ends to any tunnel, that we have still received no contact whatever from the promoters of a project that would have a major impact on the Borough of Fareham.
“This does nothing to enhance the credibility of this on the face of it unrealistic and unfunded project.”
Pro-link: Fault of council officers
Proposals for the tunnel came to light for Mainland councillors following a presentation made by Pro-Link and Anti-Link campaigners to Isle of Wight council last night (Monday).
In response to today’s Daily Echo report, Carl Feeny – Pro-link campaigner – says the team did consult with the relevant local authorities on the Mainland, adding that councillors not being aware of the proposal is the fault of their council officers.
“I’m astonished that councillor Woodward is unaware of these meetings having taken place. We described the scheme in fair detail that if councillor Woodward was aware of, he would understand that the scheme will provide vast benefits to his area regarding transportation of public and personal vehicles underground and the agglomeration of different public transport modes around the Solent region. The social and economic benefit to the area will be immeasurable.
“We are ready to speak with Councillor Woodward at any time, he has only to contact us. We are sorry he’s had his ‘nose put out of joint’, but quite simply, he should have been informed by his transport department.”
Feeny: Councillors “notoriously difficult to pin down”
The proposed exit points for the Solent Tunnel were revealed in May 2017 by Carl Feeny and Kevin Price of Able Communications – the company set up to take the project forward.
OnTheWight got in touch with Carl to find out who he has been in contact with at the Mainland authorities and when. He told us that contact was made with Mainland council transport officers around May time this year.
Carl confirmed he’d not contacted councillors directly, adding they are “are notoriously difficult to pin down”.
“The IOW regeneration team recommended we seek approval from the transport depts on the Mainland before we seek it from the LEP. The councillors were not part of that equation and are notoriously difficult to pin down as elected people, rather than paid qualified ones.
“We needed to deal with professionals. Those professionals should then pass on the info to elected members.”
Gosport: “Traffic caused by tunnel would not be welcome”
Chair of the Economic Development Board on Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Stephen Philpott, told the paper,
“We have been working very hard with Fareham councillors and county councillors to secure substantial investment in road infrastructure, some of which is in the pipeline to be delivered while some of which is being developed.
“These developments are being made to address existing transport problems in Southern Hampshire where many of our trunk roads are at already or above capacity at peak times and therefore any additional traffic caused by this tunnel project would not be welcome by people in this area.”
Read the Daily Echo article in full.
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