A BUSINESS park could lose trade unless radical action is taken to improve its infrastructure, campaigners have warned.

Thousands of workers who drive home from Colchester Business Park, off Severalls Lane, are regularly facing bumper to bumper traffic for hours some evenings.

Now members of the Colchester Business Park Network, which includes businesses and their workers, says authorities need to install new traffic lights or new exit routes from the site because it is getting busier.

Will Johnson, of SES Mechanical Services, is spearheading the campaign by writing to Colchester Council on behalf of all who work on Colchester Business Park.

There are only three exit roads off the business park all leading onto Severalls Lane.

Describing the situation as “disgraceful” Mr Johnson said businesses are resorting to sending staff home at staggered times to try to help.

He added: “In order to make the current infrastructure more sustainable, the only suggestions we could offer would be to either provide an alternative route for getting onto the A12 or Ipswich Road from the estate without having to go via Severalls Lane, or provide traffic lights on Severalls Lane to allow for regulated traffic movements, along with better lane management.”

First Buses has revealed it even altered its 65 service because of the traffic.

Operations manager Steve Hartman said the area “gets very congested causing extreme traffic delays at peak times, which had a detrimental impact on reliability of the route 65 service”.

“To get closer access to the business park, we have applied to the authorities to position a bus stop opposite Matchett Drive, which would shorten the walk into the business park when using the bus.

"Since the change in February, we have noticed a significant improvement to the service which is benefitting the majority of people using the service.”

Motorists trying to leave the estate have to try to pull into busy Severalls Lane by finding a suitable gap in the traffic.

Gazette: Junction of Wyncolls Road and Severalls Lane, Colchester13/3

This can be can compounded if there is an incident elsewhere in Colchester as the road becomes busier.

Mr Johnson’s plea to Colchester Council added: “Every evening is gridlock, which is hugely stressful, disruptive, costly to individuals and businesses and of course very polluting.

"I cannot stress enough how bad this is, leaving us all dreading the journey home after work.

“Something needs to be done to ensure that current businesses remain on the estate.”

Colchester Council leader Paul Smith said: “I would be happy to meet with Mr Johnson to discuss the issues and we can then raise them when we have regular meetings with Essex County Council.”

Mr Smith said he hoped the county council could also offer some suggestions to improve the infrastructure.

Kevin Bentley, county councillor for infrastructure, said he understood businesses’ frustrations.

He added: “In the short term, think about staggering journey times, car sharing and it is also not far away from the park and ride.” In the longer term Mr Bentley said he was having “in depth” talks with Colchester Council.