A NATIONAL park authority have raised concerns about the impact of a planned £175 million scheme at junction 9 of the M3.

The South Downs National Park has objected to the plans which are being organised by National Highways.

The work, which is due to start next year, will change the layout of the Winnall roundabout. It will cost between £125-£175 million and has a start date of 2023-2024.

The work includes widening the junction to create four lanes each way, and new road and roundabout design to provide free-flow links between the M3 and A34 for those travelling between Newbury and Southampton.

It would also see the rearranging of the main junction 9 roundabout with a new elongated design.

READ MORE HERE: The impact of the Winnall Junction 9 scheme

The scheme would incorporate three new bridges and a number of other structures, including an improved bridge over the River Itchen, and new underpasses, along with revised walking and cycling routes and improved motorway slip-roads.

Following the latest consultation, a spokesman from National Highways said: “Following feedback in consultation with the South Downs National Park, the project team have changed some landscaping to the east of the M3. They have also refined the design to benefit walkers, cyclists and horse riders.”

A statement from the South Downs National Park Authority said: “The Authority recognises the need for improvements at this strategically important junction.

“However, we have issued an objection to the proposal based on the scheme as currently presented. This is based on potential adverse impacts to the South Downs National Park’s landscape, biodiversity and recreational opportunities, together with inadequate mitigation measures as they currently stand. It is vital the opportunities are taken to enhance the landscape and increase connectivity between the city and the South Downs and communities along the River Itchen.

SEE ALSO: Watch video of Ferrari driver nearly losing control at Junction 9 roundabout

“As part of the Development Consent Order process, we are working with National Highways to address our concerns. We welcome the recent announcement that removes the soil deposition areas but much more is needed from this major scheme. Discussions are also ongoing to create a new walking and cycling route within the National Park.”

For more information, go to highwaysengland.co.uk/our-work/south-east/m3-junction-9-improvements/.


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Kimberley Barber