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We need investment in our Colchester roads – now!
6:00am Friday 20th December 2013 in News
COLCHESTER desperately needs its long-awaited park and ride scheme to ease town centre congestion, a business leader has said.
Essex County Council still hopes to have the scheme under way by next December, but has suffered a serious setback with the failure of a Government funding bid for the project.
To pave the way for the park and ride scheme, County Hall has now brought back two key parts of the controversial High Street traffic scheme it aborted after a public outcry in April.
The routes up North Hill and from the High Street into Queen Street are now buses-only once again.
Essex Federation of Small Businesses chairman Iain Wicks, said he accepted the new bus lanes in the town centre had eased central congestion.
However, he felt the move had increased delays on surrounding routes, such as Cowdray Avenue.
The root cause, he added, was a lack of investment in its roads, going back a generation.
He explained: “Colchester is a town in desperate need of infrastructure and investment.
“It hasn’t had anything meaningful for at least 20 or so years.
“Park and ride is a critical thing which is going to be crucial to the town’s future.
“The traffic restrictions on the High Street have, no doubt, caused one or two issues in some areas, but it has reduced them in others.”
Despite the funding setback, County Hall is still saying it hopes to have its park and ride centre open to the north of the town at Cuckoo Farm, in a year’s time.
Mr Wicks said town centre businesses seemed reasonably satisfied with the bus lane changes, since delivery vehicles could still get along the High Street, which had not been the case under the aborted scheme.
County Hall is due to start fresh consultations on the latest changes in the new year.
A spokesman said: “These orders have been implemented on an experimental basis, so we are able to monitor the impact of the scheme and make amendments as appropriate.
“Monitoring of traffic flow is ongoing and traffic surveys are due to be carried out next week.
“The Christmas period will have an impact on the network, which will be monitored.”
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