CONSERVATIVE councillors have described a U-turn by BCP Council on its “once-in-a-generation” Wessex Fields scheme as “inexplicable”.

Announced last week, the move would see the planned link road only built to the edge of the site and the proposed flyover put on hold before a public consultation is held over the next steps.

But the council has been accused of “bottling” the opportunity to create a technology and science park on the land next to Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

After May’s election in which the Unity Alliance took control of BCP Council, its deputy leader, and cabinet member for regeneration councillor Mark Howell, promised “full and serious” reviews of major ongoing projects.

On Monday the cabinet is due to consider the latest plans for the controversial Wessex Fields scheme, planning permission for which was granted earlier this year.

A condition of the approval was that only 500 jobs could be created on the site before a northbound connection is built.

A report to the cabinet recommends the link road is only built to the edge of the Wessex Fields plot and that the northbound connection is shelved "until the future use of the site is determined".

Speaking at Monday's scrutiny board meeting, Cllr Howell said the approach did not completely rule out the construction of a flyover in Holdenhurst.

“It does not make sense to build the link road now because we don’t have the funds for it and we don’t want to build it in the wrong place," he said.

“If we built it now it would become a rat run and the danger is that we are encouraging even more traffic in that area.

“We feel that the best option is to put the basic infrastructure in place so that, once a consultation has been held and partners have come forward, then we can build out that site.”

But the decision drew criticism from Conservative councillors who urged the council to continue with the work done by Bournemouth council before its abolition.

Councillor Philip Broadhead, who was a member of its cabinet, said the flyover was the only way to “unlock” the site for new businesses to move in.

“The plans for Wessex Fields were the once-in-a-generation opportunity to create 2,000 jobs,” he said. “Unlocking this prime area for a technological science park to put our area firmly on the map.

“Instead of seizing this opportunity, the Unity Alliance has bottled it and decided inexplicably to build the road but stop it before it gets to anything. This really is the Road to Nowhere.”

Final consideration of the recommendations for the future of the Wessex Fields scheme will be made at Monday’s cabinet meeting.