A DEAL which will see £99.9million spent on building a link road between Colchester and a planned 7,500-home garden community has been signed.

The cash, which was announced more than 12 months ago, will be used to support the design and build of a planned rapid transit system in Colchester, and a new link road between the A120 and A133.

The proposed transit system will link key destinations across the town through the creation of a transit corridor.

It will offer regular services from the Park and Ride off the A12, through the town to the garden community on the border of Colchester and Tendring, with a transport centre located off a new link road.

Essex County Council has now signed the final contract to secure the money from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund.

The plan to build thousands of new homes is being designed in collaboration with Colchester and Tendring councils.

Carlo Guglielmi, Tendring Council’s deputy leader, said: “The new A133-A120 link road will remove traffic from the existing road network by making it easier for people to access the A120 and A12, avoiding residential streets.

“It will also considerably decrease the through traffic in the village of Elmstead Market.”

David King, Colchester councillor responsible for business, said: “Done well, it should not only help those still needing to use their cars, but make it more attractive and easier to travel by public transport, reduce congestion and help improve air quality and quality of life.

“It will also help provide the connectivity businesses in the area need to rebuild and flourish once again following the impact of Covid -19.

“It means we can provide the infrastructure needed to support sustainable housing growth in north Essex.

“We must ensure the homes and necessary services and facilities are developed to garden community principles, that encourage active and sustainable travel.

“This funding is an essential first step.”

The link road and transit system are both due to be operational by 2024.

The garden community will encompass business premises, 7,500 homes, a country park, schools and health centres.

A public consultation will be carried out. Visit essex.gov.uk.