Hampshire County Council is calling on the Government to invest in transport and digital infrastructure for the whole of the South East to secure the region’s economic competitiveness for the future.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Roy Perry explains: “We were very pleased to welcome the National Infrastructure Commissioner to Hampshire and have the opportunity to put forward the case for investment in the South East.
“Proper investment in strategic infrastructure is essential to help Hampshire, and its neighbours, reach their full economic potential and to enable us to make the most of the advantages we have here, such as our strategic location, including our close proximity to London, Heathrow, Gatwick, as well as Southampton Airport and the International Port of Southampton – the UK’s gateway to global markets.
“Hampshire’s long-term sustainable growth is heavily dependent on improving its connectivity, both digital and mobile communications, and its physical connections through better road and rail infrastructure in the county and beyond. In this way, we will not only ensure that residents and businesses already here have the opportunity to prosper, but also that new businesses are attracted to the area - utilising skills and bringing jobs.
“The County Council is strongly committed to promoting economic growth for the benefit of all residents, and meeting the needs of expanding communities, whilst also caring for our natural environment, which is itself an important economic asset. I am personally pushing in particular to secure better digital connectivity and improve strategic transport links for the 1.34 million residents of Hampshire which is why I have spent time submitting vital evidence to the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) and working to establish a Sub National Transport Body for the South East.”
Hampshire County Council was asked to give its expert opinion on national and regional infrastructure issues to the Government following a call for evidence from the NIC. The information will help guide future policies on economic infrastructure needs such as transport, digital communications, flood risk management and waste, over the next 30 years.
The evidence provided explains how the South makes a vital contribution to the national economy but continues to be under great pressure in terms of congestion and housing growth; and how investment in both physical infrastructure and digital communications is needed to ensure the region remains competitive and rural communities do not lose out.
Some of the larger infrastructure investments to support long-term sustainable growth in Hampshire and its wider region put forward by the County Council include:
Improved strategic routes between the Port of Southampton and the Midlands, including the upgrade of A34 to motorway and better rail routes for freight which avoid causing delays to passenger rail services.
A road link between M4 with M3 to help accommodate growth, including significant housing growth planned to the west of Basingstoke
Southern access to Heathrow
Improved rail connections between Hampshire and London (both capacity of trains and the speed of journeys)
CrossRail 2 to relieve pressure on services into London
Urban Mass Transit (bus and light rail links in South Hampshire, including between the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton)
The call for evidence follows a visit by the NIC to the South East in January which was hosted by the County Council, to help the Commission fully understand the growing pressures on the region’s infrastructure and its future needs. It was attended by leading politicians from the South East’s county and unitary local authorities as well as representatives from ABP Ports (Southampton), Heathrow Airport, Highways England and Network Rail.