AN OVERTON resident says he is "outraged" after Hampshire County Council started building a footpath despite local residents and the parish council objecting.

Stephen Foot, who lives on Station Road, told the Advertiser that he had no notice that the tarmac pavement would be constructed, after plans were submitted in 2011.

It comes after emails seen by the Advertiser show that he was assured that the scheme would not go ahead against residents' wishes.

"I’m outraged at the behaviour of principally Hampshire County Council," Stephen said.

"I’m appalled that they will even consider doing this sort of scheme without talking to anybody, without listening to anybody who is actually local."

The footpath was initially put in plans for the Bellway Homes development just off Station Road, in order to account for the increase in walking traffic between the town and the station. It is contained under a section 106 agreement, which intends to mitigate for any effects new housing developments have on the local area.

However, Stephen says that the council are going about this in the wrong way.

"My understanding of the section 106 is that it is for community benefit and that’s what all of the local authority websites say.

"To be of benefit to the local community, surely step one is you have to listen to what the community wants?"

Stephen says that a footpath is not needed on the area in question. According to the 62-year-old, the grass verge is completely fine to walk on, and that the real road that needs a footpath is Station Approach, where cars often park along one side and there is no room for pedestrians to walk.

It also comes after the council put a lamppost up at the site, obscuring access to his barns.

"We have had no communication with them since the three categoric statements they made nine years ago saying they were not going to do this," Stephen continued.

"We’ve had no communication whatsoever until they turned up with diggers last Monday and they started digging that up."

He said that the diggers were due to return today, before he was told that the county council's head of implementation was due to meet him on site.

"I believe it’s being done at this pace, partly because they want to get the section 106 done and get the thing closed, and secondly I think they are actively trying to stifle any challenge of this iniquitous scheme.

"They need to engage with the people who live here."

Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Hampshire County Council and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: “A section of highway verge is being turned into a footpath by developers Bellway as this was a requirement of planning permission for their development.

"Our teams are working closely with the developer and the parish council to ensure the new footpath is of the standard required by the County Council for adoption, at which point the County Council would take on responsibility for maintenance.

"The County Council will not adopt substandard or unfinished roads, which would include streetlighting where appropriate, because of the impact this would have on council tax payers across the county.”