RESIDENTIAL roads could become bus lanes to ferry people between Colchester and a new 5,000-home development.

Essex County Council has instructed experts to explore routes to link the town centre with the proposed homes to the east of the town and Essex University.

Three bus ‘rapid transit’ corridors have so far been proposed:

  •  East Hill and Greenstead Road
  •  Military Road, Recreation Road and a new road to Colne Causeway
  •  Colchester Town rail corridor

Others are also being explored, although it is not yet clear what they are.

The details have come to light after the Gazette was given a document detailing the information.

Although any bus route has not yet been finalised, whichever is chosen will see it become a bus lane, with cars barred from the roads at certain times of day to make it faster for public transport.

Peter Kay, chairman of Colchester Bus Users’ Group, said: “They are trying to find a lump of gold in a pig sty.

“The Military Road one is completely old hat and was dismissed years ago. It’s useless because the buses would still have to use Greenstead roundabout which is the most congested part of the whole area.

“Greenstead Road just wouldn’t work, especially at a time when they want to increase trains. Buses would just get stuck at Eastgates crossing.

“None of these would make buses go any faster through Colchester.”

The plans are being looked into as part of proposals by County Hall, Colchester Council, Braintree Council and Tendring Council to create a “garden community” to the east of Colchester.

Paul Smith, leader of Colchester Council, said until it was clear exactly where the houses would go, no other plans could be set in stone.

He said: “These new bus rapid transport lanes are certainly a possibility.

“The Colchester Town rail corridor could cause a lot of interest, maybe even as a light railway or as a shuttle bus.

“Certainly at key times of day cars would not be allowed to use them, such as at 8.30am.”

But he rejected claims the bus routes were unworkable.

Mr Smith added: “The problems can be solved but there would be a cost involved.

“At Eastgates you could look at ways of speeding up the opening and closing of the gates.

“Greenstead roundabout could be remodelled.”