TrustNews August 1987
M3 and the Winchester M3 Joint Action Group
The 1985 Inquiry will now be re-opened at the Guildhall on 29th September.
No more important issue confronts Winchester.
Members will recall that the Trust has been a consistent supporter of a tunnel as the only acceptable motorway option. This also is the policy of the Winchester M3 Joint Action Group (JAG) which played a vital role in the past in averting the Department's more disastrous proposals and which has been reactivated in view of the re-opening of the Inquiry.
The Trust has also strongly maintained that the high embanked crossing of the Itchen Valley was a calamity, mitigated only by the maintenance of the railway viaduct (and then only from Winchester's perspective). The over-line crossing of the railway represented a further serious intrusion into the valley scene.
Unlike the cutting, the tunnel option does not demand these additional environmental impositions, provided the spoil disposal problem can be solved (and it can).
The Trust, therefore, fully supports the JAG policy, calling for a tunnel, a ground-level valley crossing and an under-the-railway crossing at Shawford.
The Inspector in his Report on the 1985 Inquiry was sympathetic towards a tunnel but did not recommend it on grounds of cost and construction time. JAG now has evidence that both the cost and the construction time were considerably exaggerated by the Department of Transport and can be substantially reduced.
This is the conclusion reached in a report prepared very recently by a firm of construction consultants with particular expertise in tunnelling. The report was commissioned originally by individuals who have provided some of the funds required. But JAG intends to make use of it at the re-opened Inquiry and has set up a fund to meet the balance of the costs incurred to date, and to pay for any further studies and legal representation that may be necessary.
The Trust is a member of JAG, strongly supports it, and has already contributed £500 to this fund.
Since 1970 the Departments of the Environment and Transport have produced a succession of proposals, any one of which could have been forced through by the Government of the day. The fact that none of them has been adopted and that the latest Inquiry, in which the Inspector recommended a route to the east of St. Catherine's hill, has been re-opened, implies that no satisfactory solution has been proposed and that the only answer which will be acceptable to almost everyone is a tunnel.
We believe that the tunnel cost can be justified, both in cost/benefit terms and by precedents, in that sections of other motorways have been no less expensive. There is thus a real chance of achieving a tunnel solution, provided that funds and massive public support are forthcoming.
How Members can help
Make a donation which the Trust will pass on to JAG. Cheques, made out to "WPT - JAG Account", may be delivered to the Heritage Centre, to branches of Barclay's Bank in Jewry Street, High Street or Weeke, to the Hon. Secretary or to any Officer of the Trust.
Write in support of the objectives of JAG to the new Inspector, Air Vice-Marshal Charles Maughan, CB, CBE, AFC, C/o. The Guildhall, Winchester.
Write to your M.P. and to your County and City Councillors.
Apply to speak at the Inquiry. Do so as soon as possible, addressing your application to Mr. E. Lawson, Programme Officer, Department of Transport, South East Regional Office, Federated House, London Road, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1SZ. Tel. Dorking 885922 Ext. 366. (You will be required to provide a summary of your intended statement by 7th September).
Attend the Inquiry sessions as often as you can. A big audience demonstrates that people care.
The Inquiry will re-open at 10 a.m. on 29th September and is expected to last several weeks.