Hampshire County Council has welcomed news of the outcome of funding bids to the Department for Transport with Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council for national investment designed to improve walking, cycling and public transport.

The Department for Transport has awarded £57million to the Southampton City Region, and the Portsmouth City Region a share of £117million with Norwich and Stoke-on-Trent, subject to full business case approval.

Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “With our partners in the cities, we put together ambitious bids with the potential to transform the way people travel in and around South Hampshire – promoting economic prosperity, linking transport and housing developments, reducing congestion, improving air quality and tackling carbon emissions.

“The £57million awarded for transport and travel improvements for those travelling into and out of Southampton is welcome, and will go some way in making it easier for people to leave the car at home for their daily commute. We will be working with the Department for Transport (DfT) on the implications of the announcement that any funding allocated to Portsmouth will be a share of £117 million which we need to bring about much needed transport and travel improvements for those commuting into and around Portsmouth.”

The bids were made to the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund which aims to improve productivity and spread prosperity through investment in public and sustainable transport in some of the largest English city regions.

The Southampton City Region bid has been awarded £57million. The investment will support plans to improve connectivity across three major travel corridors in and out of Southampton from the Waterside, Eastleigh and Bursledon. Over the next three years, this investment will deliver rapid bus corridors using smart technology and priority lanes; accelerate the development of the Southampton Cycle Network, create Active Travel Zones to encourage cycling and walking, and develop Park & Ride and Local Mobility Hubs.

Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Place and Transport, Southampton City Council says: “Looking ahead, Southampton is going to face the pressures of a growing population and increasing job numbers, with the associated impacts on people’s health and our environment. This TCF funding will allow us to start to ensure that our transport system is fit for the future, sustainable, and suitably equipped to tackle these challenges.

“Our plans are ambitious and innovative allowing people and goods to move around easily and efficiently reducing the impacts of congestion for all and pollution. By continuing to invest in public transport, walking and cycling, Park and Ride as well as City Centre transformation

– widening people’s travel choices, and helping everyone to get from home to where they want to go to not just by car. This will have positive benefits to improve our air quality, people’s health, and creating a green and clean place to live.”

The Portsmouth bid focussed on the development of the next phase of South East Hampshire Rapid Transit (SEHRT) – a network of bus priority routes designed to improve public transport links between Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Waterlooville, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth. The funding is essential if improvements are to be made to public transport infrastructure and walking and cycling routes, to create the new rapid transit network, with bus operator partners First Group and Stagecoach providing the new bus fleet. The three new rapid transit routes would serve residents travelling to Portsmouth from Fareham, Gosport, Leigh Park and Waterlooville, while a new transport hub at Ryde interchange will improve public transport links between the Isle of Wight with the mainland.

Councillor Lynne Stagg, Portsmouth’s Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transport, chairs the SEHRT board and said. “The Portsmouth City Region bid for a rapid transit network serving Portsmouth and our surrounding towns was truly transformational, and we are disappointed that we will not be able to progress our plans at this stage. We will of course explore the funding opportunity presented to us, and we will be meeting with the Department for Transport to review our bid as soon as possible.”

Additionally, Hampshire County Council’s bid for national funding to the Government’s Large Local Major fund to improve the A326 along the Waterside – is proceeding to the next stage of development