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Statement by Hampshire County Council

Monday, 02 December 2013

Hampshire County Council would like to apologise unreservedly for any distress caused by a letter that was sent out in error to around 150 householders in the Fareham area by consultants working on developing proposals for Stubbington Bypass. The County Council would like to reassure residents that there are no plans to Compulsory Purchase any residential properties as part of work to develop options for a Stubbington bypass.

The letter issued to householders, by consultants working with the Council, was intended for owners of land directly affected by the route options consulted on earlier this year, but was inadvertently sent to residents in the surrounding areas. The letter requested information regarding ownership of properties in order to help identify whose consent would be sought for ecological and other survey work to be carried out on their land. The letter and notice made reference to a section in the Local Government Act which also relates to compulsory purchase, and this was highlighted in the consultants' covering letter.

Cllr Seán Woodward Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: "I would like to apologise to residents who have received these letters in error and for any distress this may have caused them. It would appear that a breakdown of communication between the Council and the consultants led to an inaccurate letter being mistakenly issued to local residents. There is no intention that householders would be affected in anyway. The letter should have been sent to land owners of fields and open space along the possible routes for a bypass, and was to request access to their land in-order to carry out ecological and topographical surveys. These essential surveys are required to provide evidence for developing the scheme, to support future bids for Government funding.

"I have asked that the exact circumstances be investigated and measures put in place to ensure nothing like this can happen in the future. We will be delivering letters of apology to the 150 householders affected and assuring them we have no intention of using compulsory purchase powers in relation to their properties."

Following consultation into three options for the Stubbington Bypass the Council took the decision to further investigate potential routes. The need to accelerate this process in the light of potential for Government funding led to the appointment of consultants to help prepare any future funding bids. In order to complete the necessary environmental assessments it is necessary to carry out ecological survey work at this time of year, which is why we were trying to contact owners of the fields and open areas now, following up a letter we previously sent in October.

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