Hopes for improved transport connections between Portsmouth and the south coast

Network Rail is among other groups now partnered with Transport for the South East. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire Network Rail, Highways England and Transport for London will now work with Transport for the South East to boost investment for road and rail networks.

It comes as the group, which is made up of members from the region’s local authorities and representatives of economic partnerships, is set to provide a 30-year transport strategy this summer.

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One of the group’s members and Portsmouth council’s transport cabinet member, Councillor Lynne Stagg, hoped this could help ‘connect’ Portsmouth with other cities.

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She said: ‘We have pushed for a long time to improve the connectivity between Portsmouth and Southampton, Brighton and the south east. ‘I am pleased to see that Transport for the South East has just announced these key partners are coming on board. ‘This will strengthen the opportunities to develop our rail and road networks to improve the city’s economy and quality of life.’

Cllr Keith Glazier, body chairman and leader of East Sussex County Council, said: ‘Bringing Transport for the South East and these key partners closer together will help ensure we’re best placed to deliver investment in the south east’s most important strategic transport links while also working together to improve connectivity with the wider region and the UK. ‘It makes sense to formalise those relationships, adding considerable technical expertise and strategic insight to our partnership board.’ John Halsall, managing director of Network Rail’s southern region, added: ‘The devolution of Network Rail to regional businesses is all about putting passengers first.

‘A big part of how we do that is to work much more closely and collaboratively with regional stakeholders, so I’m delighted to accept the invitation on behalf of Network Rail to join Transport for the South East’s partnership board.’

The organisation was set up in 2017 and represents more than 7m people and 300,000 businesses.

Recently the group said it hoped the area would secure a slice of a GBP5bn funding pot for transport announced by prime minister Boris Johnson.

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