A FOURTH application for Government funding to build Colchester’s park and ride has been turned down.

A bid for £3.5million towards the 1,000-space facility at Cuckoo Farm and a town centre-bound bus lane under North Station bridge was unsuccessful.

The setback has created further doubt as to whether Essex County Council will be able to open the park and ride to the public by December next year.

Martin Goss, borough councillor for Mile End, said he will hold Rodney Bass, county councillor responsible for transport, to his assurance the park and ride site would be open in a year.

He said: “Mr Bass will have to prove to the people of Colchester he’s a man of his words. I guess if they haven’t got external funding they will have to raid their finances and get on with it.

“Colchester needs this park and ride and it has done for a number of years while our competitors like Chelmsford and Ipswich have had theirs.

This part of town cannot carry on in this haphazard way.”

The council’s application had been revised after a previous attempt to secure Department for Transport cash was rejected in June.

A previous bid for a grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Growing Places Fund was also unsuccessful.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership has provisionally awarded £5.9 million for Cuckoo Farm and upgrades at North Station, but the money will not be available until 2015.

The park and ride is intended to boost Colchester as a visitor destination, relieve congestion and improve air quality in the town centre and the north of town.

Dominic Graham, a member of Myland Community Council, has been calling on the county council to take immediate action to reduce traffic at North Station Roundabout.

He said: “The roundabout is a disaster. It’s a horrendous piece of kit to try and negotiate.

“It’s obvious to everybody that the railway bridge is a particular pinch point. I’m not an expert in town planning, so it’s difficult for me to come up with suggestions.

“The people who get paid the money to design these things should pay a little bit more attention and have a look at it.”

A county council spokesman said: “We are disappointed to once again be overlooked for funding for the Colchester park and ride scheme.

“We will seek feedback on the bid while continuing to explore opportunities to deliver this high priority scheme at the earliest opportunity.”