§ Mr. John Browne
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the proposed extension of the M3 from Winchester to the M27.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
I announced on 10 April the decisions of my right hon. Friends following the 1985 public inquiry.
The independent inspector agreed that the extension of the M3 from Winchester to the M27 was urgently needed and that our proposals for replacing the A33 Winchester bypass by taking the motorway in a cutting across Twyford Down provided the right solution. In view of the representations which we have received since the inquiry about the absence of relevant information on environmental issues, we have concluded that we could not come to a proper decision on the proposals for the Bar End-Compton section without giving a further opportunity for this information to be presented to the inspector.
We have decided to re-open the inquiry into the Bar End-Compton section. The arrangements for this will be announced as soon as possible.
We see no need to hold up the much-needed southern part of the scheme between Compton and the M27. We have accepted the inspector's recommendation that the widening and upgrading of the A33 Otterbourne and Chandlers Ford bypass to form part of the M3 motorway should go ahead. We will start work on this part of the scheme as quickly as possible.