A HUGE unwanted road improvement scheme should not take priority over more important work, it has been warned.

Essex Highways is carrying out major works to Lexden Road in Colchester in a bid to manage traffic flow and cut journey times.

Public information events were held in 2016 and work began in the spring last year.

However borough councillors claim the time and money should be spent on projects residents want, including the resurfacing of Maldon Road, at junction of Southway.

Colchester councillor Nick Cope (Lib Dem), plans to put this question to Essex County Council at a full council meeting tomorrow.

He said: “As far as I know no-one wanted the Lexden Road works done. I challenged the county councillor on why a large project should be going forward when basic repairs are being neglected.

“The answer I got was that they are different budgets. So the road surface in Maldon Road gets left and serious potholes are not done, while a massive amount of work is being done at that junction.

“Common sense would suggest the basics should have been addressed first.

“There is a real issue here because in spite of the much vaunted austerity of the times we live in this gratuitous project is being undertaken in the face of cuts everywhere and lack of basic road maintenance.”

Essex County Council bosses say the funds for the Lexden Road improvement scheme came from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership fund, and can therefore only be spent on what was put forward to the partnership in a business case.

Road maintenance, such as fixing potholes, is paid for out of the Essex County Council budget. Each road improvement is prioritised and fixed in order accordingly.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “Lexden Road is a key corridor allowing access to Colchester town centre from the west, but it suffers from congestion at peak times.

“Essex County Council has committed to pledge an additional £3 million to pothole and footpath repairs in next year’s budget proposals, on top of the additional six extra repair crews which have been out on Essex roads since January.”

Maldon Road is scheduled for resurfacing in the upcoming financial year, beginning next month.