BLUEPRINTS to regenerate land off Magdalen Street, Colchester, could create a traffic “nightmare”, councillors warned.

Colchester Council has drawn up a brief setting out how the 1.4 hectares could be developed.

The brief includes plans for 70 homes, open spaces, and a doctor’s surgery.

Kim Naish, a member of the local plan committee, voiced his concerns when it was asked to consider whether the brief will be used as guidance for developments.

Mr Naish, Berechurch ward councillor, said: “The parking and access gave me nightmares.”

He said nearby George Williams Way was already blighted by cars parked on pavements.

Shrub End ward councillor Lyn Barton told committee members she had “serious concerns” about access to the site from Magdalen Street.

She said: “I don’t know what the solution is. That is horrendous with that road. If we are getting 70 houses, that is going to be a nightmare.

“Hopefully, there will be good cycling routes, but what else can we do? It is going to be totally unacceptable to move around and function.”

Martin Goss, committee deputy chairman, said he was concerned over the site’s commercial viability.

He pointed out the land was contaminated, with a high clear-up cost involved. He also voiced concerns over pollution.

Magdalen Street is already an air quality management area due to high traffic levels. “Are we developing something for the sake of development?” Mr Goss asked.

Councillor Annie Feltham, whose New Town ward borders the site, described it as an “eccentric piece of land”, but welcomed its regeneration.

She urged the council to ensure development included green spaces for children to play in and sufficient car parking.

Simon Cairns, the council’s planning project manager, said any potential developer would be asked to submit evidence to show impact on air quality.

He said a developer would also have to demonstrate a project would be viable and added many of the cars in the area belonged to commuters, not home owners.

Mr Cairns said open spaces would have to be “usable and meaningful”.