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Bus scheme halted for appeal bid

9 December 2009 - BBC News

Work on a rapid bus route in Hampshire has been halted after campaigners won the right to appeal against the scheme.

Last month residents lost a judicial review over technical aspects of the Bus Rapid Transit route, between Gosport and Fareham.

A new injunction has now been granted against Hampshire County Council while an appeal against the merits of the project is considered.

The project must be finished by spring 2011 to qualify for government funding.

Buses will run on the route of a disused railway line.

Residents' backing

Hampshire's transport councillor Mel Kendal said: "This is extremely disappointing news considering that only two weeks ago we received a judgement from the High Court that declared the council's approach to determining the planning application... was quite correct.

"I am concerned that these delays will impact on the project which must be completed by 31 March 2011 in order that local residents can benefit from the 20m funding coming from central government."

Hampshire County Council said it had the backing of 70% from residents during a period of consultation.

Work was halted by an injunction in September after environmentalists claimed badgers and bats might be at risk.

But clearance work was later allowed to continue after the council agreed to implement measures to protect animals and not to disturb badger setts.

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