A £99.9 million cash pot has been hailed as a “huge step” towards delivering three new towns - but campaigners say it should be spent on easing congestion problems now.

The Government announced it was giving the cash to Essex County Council to create a A120/A133 link road and the first stage of a rapid transport system.

The rapid transit system is designed to reduce congestion and provide quick and easy access in and out of Braintree and Colchester from the new towns.

The system, which could cost between £230million and £325million, will start off as a bus service with bus lanes.

The new road is expected to reduce traffic on Ipswich Road and to Essex University and Knowledge Gateway.

Council bosses say it is “an integral part” of plans for the new town to the east of Colchester with 7,500 homes.


  • The rapid transport scheme

But Rosie Pearson, of Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex, said: “What is needed is for the council to acknowledge that the problems of Colchester’s fast growth to date need addressing and bolting a new town on to the east of Colchester is not the solution. The solution is a transport and infrastructure plan for the borough.

“Of course, money from government is to be welcomed, but it should not ‘unlock’ thousands more homes. It should address current congestion.

“Perhaps a new link road might be one way of doing that, but, given that Colchester has also declared a climate emergency, there needs to be some integrated sustainable transport planning, too.”

Julie Young, deputy leader of Colchester Council, said: “We welcome this announcement, which is a huge step towards delivering the appropriate transport infrastructure to support sustainable housing growth in north Essex and will ensure the homes and the infrastructure are developed to the garden community principles we have all committed to.

“I am particularly pleased that some of the funding will help current residents get direct access to the A120, A12 and beyond, while also providing a sustainable option for travel from the east into Colchester.”

Graham Butland, leader of Braintree Council, added: “We’ve always said funding for infrastructure is key to our plans.

“This support from Government shows the faith they have in our approach to creating homes in north Essex.”

A six week consultation on the garden community plans is underway. Visit www.braintree.gov.uk/NEAtechS1.

Wait continues for A12 realignment cash outcome

COUNCIL bosses are yet to hear if they will be awarded £229 million to carry out improvements on the A12.

In March, Essex County Council put forward three bids for cash from the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

While it has been announced two of the bids have received cash, there has been no announcement yet on the A12.

The bid is to realign the A12 between Kelvedon and Marks Tey.

It would see the the position of the A12 moved to the east of its existing alignment.

A new junction 25 would be created to provide direct access to the proposed West Tey development.

Other parts of the bid include widening the Kelvedon bypass to four lanes in each direction to cater for an expected increase in traffic.

The councils which are putting forward the three new garden towns are awaiting the decision on whether they will get funding for the realignment.

A report, which went before the councils, said: “This will demonstrate to the inspector that positive progress is being made in securing the road infrastructure that will be key to the delivery of the proposed garden communities.”

Announcements on bids to the fund by councils across the UK were expected from this summer.