Hockley Viaduct project gets further funding boost

Work to repair the Hockley Viaduct and integrate it into the final stretch of National Cycle Network Route 23 (NCN23) has had a triple boost of late.

Winchester City Council is making good progress with partners Sustrans and Hampshire County Council in delivering a project which has so far attracted universal public support.

The first big boost has been a funding decision by the County Council.  The City Council had already identified £500,000 to bring the project about, and now Hampshire County Council has announced a contribution of £250,000 towards the million pound target figure.  The County funding will help to complete the Cycle Route in a way which enables commuters to make use of it from the South Winchester Park and Ride, as well as leisure cyclists.  It is anticipated that the local bike loan scheme, Bikeabout, will be extended to the Park and Ride to enable commuters to enjoy a car free trip into the city as they head to their offices in the morning.

The second boost has been the granting of a Creation Order to ensure that Domum Road can be included as part of the route for cyclists and walkers.  Obtaining access rights for the length of the route has been a complex exercise, but discussions with two other key landowners are also progressing well.

The third development has been the submission this week of a planning application by the project team for some of the essential works required to complete the route.  The application has been put forward following ecological studies, public consultation and extensive technical input from the team.

City Councillors will consider these encouraging developments as part of a wider update report being presented to the Council’s April Cabinet meeting with a view to starting works to the viaduct in July.  The works will include repairs to the parapet walls and deck of the viaduct, and the installation of a new drainage system which will help keep it in good condition for many years to come. 

Cllr George Beckett, Leader of the Council, said,

I have for many years been trying to bring this local landmark back to life, and I know local people are delighted to know that work is now in hand to achieve this.  This project is an exciting way of not only ensuring the viaduct is maintained for the future, but also providing a great new facility for residents and visitors to use. The additional money from Hampshire County Council shows the potential benefits of this project to the county and South East as a whole."

Cllr Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said:

This project will preserve an important piece of Hampshire’s heritage.  It will give the viaduct a new lease of life by providing a useful alternative route for cyclists both for commuting and leisure purposes.”

There is more information about the project on www.winchester.gov.uk/hockleyviaduct and you can find the planning application on the City Council’s website by following the ‘view planning applications’ link from the home page.