THE NEXT element for plans for a multi-million-pound bypass project is set to be given the go-ahead by Hampshire’s transport chief next week.

Land acquisition proposals for the £24m Botley Bypass are set to be approved by Hampshire County Council transport portfolio holder Councillor Rob Humby next week.

Under the plans, the council will commence negotiations to acquire all third party interests in all land required for the scheme and any associated access rights and if these are unsuccessful the council will resort to using compulsory purchase powers to acquire the land.

In a statement, Hampshire County Council said: “To provide certainty of delivery in a timely manner, and in the event that negotiations to acquire all third-party land by agreement are unsuccessful, it will be necessary to make and progress a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to secure the necessary land.

“Given that it can take around two years to complete the CPO process, including confirmation by the Secretary of State, it is proposed to commence this process as soon as is reasonably possible.”

Colin Mercer, chairman of Botley Parish Council, said: “The parish council have been involved with this for many years, it’s a very positive move and the county council is fully determined to achieve the best it can for the Botley community as a whole.

“When the county council consulted on the bypass, over 80 per cent of the people that attended were in favour of the scheme, one of its highest for a road traffic scheme of its kind in Hampshire.”

The works for the scheme will improve traffic flow, reduce congestion in Botley and improve air quality and road safety.

Councillor Keith House, leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, said: “The Council has been working hard over many years to bring about a bypass for Botley and is very supportive of the principle of it.”

Mark Miller, chair of the Planning & Transport Committee at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chamber of Commerce has long supported the proposal to build a Botley Bypass as it is currently a bottleneck on the local road system creating congestion for commuters in particular but also for freight deliveries while contributing to local air quality problems.

"With further development in the area planned we have been seeking improvements to the road network to cater for inevitable increased travel demands which will come from new housing at Hedge End, Whiteley and Welborne and from cars diverting off the already congested Motorway system.

"As any congestion increases costs to the economy we support increased infrastructure in Hampshire and would like to see complementary enhancements to the existing Fareham to Eastleigh railway line via Botley and Hedge End at the same time as the Botley Bypass is being built, thereby enhancing residents’ and visitors’ overall choices of access to these growth areas by public and private transport.” 

The site for the new bypass runs from the junction of the A334 and A3051, near to Mill Hill, at the south-eastern end to Woodhouse Lane, passing to the north and east of Botley village and crossing Winchester Street.

The scheme is expected to start early next year.