MAJOR works to a notorious motorway bottleneck were top of the agenda for Winchester’s MP when he met a national park chairwoman.

Steve Brine met with South Downs National Park chief Margaret Paren to discuss the changes set to be made at junction nine of the M3.

The scheme, due to start in summer 2021, has been welcomed by Mr Brine following years of travel misery at the Winnall junction.

However, the South Downs National Park has objected to the scheme, and expressed their concern with the “lack of information regarding mitigation measures, or where these are impractical, compensation for any adverse impacts on the National Park and its special qualities”.

Following the meeting, Mr Brine said: “I pressed Margaret to work with me, Highways England and Hampshire County Council to find a way to support the scheme because it has strategic importance to the area, the region and the nation.

“I am confident we will get their support but fully understand they have a responsibility to ensure major work such as this doesn’t detrimentally impact the national park without acceptable measures put in place. We will get there in the end.”

The pair also discussed the new ‘economic profile’ of the South Downs, which is helping to shape future activity in the area, stretching from Winchester to Eastbourne.

Mr Brine heard how issues around superfast broadband continue to blight rural businesses and promised to raise the matter with the new digital minister.

The Chronicle has approached the South Downs National Park for a comment on how it felt the meeting went, but has not yet received a response.