Construction work south of Gillingham is underway to build the Principal Street, which will support the expansion of the town.
This 1.3km-long residential road will enable the development of land for housing, with the Gillingham southern extension set to deliver 1,800 homes plus a new primary school, health facilities, sports pitches, play areas, shops and open spaces.
The Principal Street will have a 30mph speed limit and a shared footway/cycleway on both sides of the road. It will also have street-lighting, parking spaces and green verges planted with trees to enhance its feel as a residential area.
Initial works as part of the road construction include:
- installing the foul drainage system, which the housing developments will connect into
- installing water mains supply, for houses to later connect into
- installing the surface water drainage system for the road
- earthworks to stabilise the ground for road construction
- earthworks to create drainage ponds and ditches
- hedge translocation
- water vole habitat mitigation work
Councillor Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: ‘It’s exciting to see construction underway after the enormous amount of planning and design work that has led to this moment.
‘This Principal Street will provide the vital infrastructure needed to support the development’s needs, which in turn will help provide much needed affordable housing and benefits for the local community.
‘It will also ensure safe sustainable access by bike or on foot for the future residents of the new homes set to be built.’
Vinny Veness, Hanson Contracting major projects manager, said: ‘We’re working to a challenging programme to complete construction in spring 2022, with a very busy site and work being carried out across the area.
‘Our focus for the moment is to install all the primary utilities under the road to ensure the new homes can be connected to these supplies. We’re also working across the new route to stabilise the clay soils ready for road construction, and the shape of the road will start to become more evident as this ground stabilisation progresses.’
A successful bid to Homes England’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) granted £6.31m to fund the design of the road, secure planning approval and build the road through the development.
This money will be recovered through Section 106 developer contributions from the expansion which will be reinvested in housing projects across Dorset.
The road will be adopted by Dorset Council at the end of its construction, with the council taking responsibility for its maintenance.
There will be no through-access along the road until Welbeck Land Ltd has completed its first phase of development, which includes building the final junction at the eastern end of the Principal Street (onto Shaftesbury Road).