CAMPAIGNERS have hit out at proposals to upgrade A12 which could see TEN lanes of carriageway pass through quiet north Essex villages.

Highways England is consulting on plans to widen the A12 to three lanes between Chelmsford and Marks Tey.

Campaigners say initial designs for the upgrade could see a new six lane carriageway built between Kelvedon and Marks Tey but with the existing four lane road also remaining in use.

Housing campaigner Rosie Pearson said the project appeared to have “morphed into a project to build an entirely new six-lane road”.

Gazette: Housing campaigner Rosie PearsonHousing campaigner Rosie Pearson

“The new road will pass not far to the south of the current A12, which looks set to remain as a dual-carriageway road”, she said.

“This means between Kelvedon and Marks Tey there will be ten lanes.”

Ms Pearson said residents were worried the additional road capacity could see a return of the West Tey new town.

She added: “Developers will be rubbing their hands together in glee at the thought of all the spare road capacity.

“With a climate crisis, we should be looking at spending public money on public transport not roads, but if an extra lane is deemed necessary, I am calling instead for two options to be looked at.

“Firstly, the online route should re-considered. Although it was the most popular option in the 2017 consultation, with respondents citing the need to future proof the road network, people will remember the very real threat of a 24,000-home new town at Marks Tey at that point.

“Secondly, consideration should be given instead to building a single lane road of a six-lane road.”

Gazette: A map showing the upgraded A12 proposalsA map showing the upgraded A12 proposals

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Campaign group Protecting the Environment Against Congestion in Easthorpe (Peace) has been set up in response to the proposals.

A spokesman for the group said Highways England modelling showed the new road would lead to a 74 per cent increase in traffic travelling along Easthorpe Road.

He said: “Highways England have not provided any benefit details of constructing, at taxpayers’ cost, a hugely-expensive bridge or flyover for a rural single-track road and for the residents of Easthorpe all this will bring is increased traffic, noise and pollution into our picturesque village.

“Due to the evolution of SatNavs our village is inundated with cars using Easthorpe Road to access the A12 instead of using the signed A12 routes because the SatNav finds that our village single track road is minutes quicker than using an A road, regardless of road suitability.

“Highways England have not considered the views of the Easthorpe residents and we have started an action group and are now canvassing (council leader) Kevin Bentley and the MP Priti Patel to permanently close Easthorpe Road.”

What have Highways England said?

BUILDING a new bypass rather than adding a lane to the existing A12 will improve safety for drivers, Highways England has claimed.

Highways England’s initial proposals to widen the A12 will see a new three-lane carriageway built between Kelvedon and Marks Tey.

The existing stretch of the A12 through this part of north Essex will be maintained for “local traffic” and new roundabouts could be installed to replace the existing junctions.

In response to concerns from campaigners about ten lanes of carriageway travelling through the area, Highways England said maintaining the former A12 would improve safety.

Stephen Elderkin, project director, said: “A key safety issue with the current A12 is the direct drive accesses that directly feeds out on to the dual carriageway - they pose a risk to both the drivers using the access routes and those passing by.

“By constructing a new bypass it will improve safety for all road users, and allow these existing access routes to remain in place as they’d feed out onto the former A12, which we are recommending is retained for use by local traffic.

“This consultation is an opportunity for people to tell us what they think about our proposals for the A12 and we encourage people to submit their feedback by visiting our website.”

Where can I find out more? 

To find out more about the campaign, visit

To view the plans or the brochure go to,