Dorset

MP refers Bournemouth A338 junction plan to government

A338 near Cob Barn Image copyright Google
Image caption The plans have already been amended to protect a 16th Century barn alongside the dual carriageway

Plans to redesign the road network near Bournemouth's main hospital have been referred to the Secretary of State.

Bournemouth Borough Council is due to decide on its application to build a new link road and junction from the A338 Spur Road on Monday.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood has asked local government secretary James Brokenshire to call in the decision because of the council's "bias".

The council said it was "disappointed at the lateness of the decision".

In his letter to Mr Brokenshire, Mr Ellwood said the council should not be allowed to determine the application, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

He wrote: "Bournemouth Borough Council is the applicant, landowner and decision-maker.

"Many, including myself, have argued that this process is flawed and has led to inevitable and unavoidable bias by the council."

'Much-needed access'

Bournemouth head of highways Gary Powell said: "After nearly two years of extensive public consultation on the Wessex Fields plans we are extremely disappointed at the lateness of the decision to refer this matter to the Secretary of State.

"Backed by central government funding, this scheme will provide a much-needed second access to Royal Bournemouth Hospital, unlock a major economic development site, as well as ease congestion in the future."

The scheme's first phase involves the creation of a southbound exit east of the hospital.

The second, which Mr Ellwood opposes, is the construction of a flyover to form a northbound connection.

The plans were recommended for approval by consultants Blueprint Planning which is acting as planning officer to "aid capacity" at the council.

Head of planning Mark Axford said if the application was approved on Monday a decision notice could not be issued until the Secretary of State had decided whether to call it in.

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