COSTS of a link road between Tendring and Colchester have spiralled by more than £20 million and could rise even more to allow crucial land purchases to proceed.

But Essex County Council has not only asked the Government for an additional £21 million to be released to pay for the increased costs of the new A133/A120 link road east of Colchester but for the deadline for completion to be extended to August 2025.

The contract with the Government had originally stipulated the road had to be completed by 2024.

The Government had allocated £99 million of Housing Infrastructure Fund money for the delivery of the link road and a rapid transport system to enable to development of a 9,000-home garden community on the Tendring/Colchester border.

The county council has admitted there is a risk Homes England and the Treasury will not be willing to fund the cost escalation of £21.25 million in full or are not willing to the full programme extension.

Land acquisition is still ongoing and further costs may be incurred in finalising negotiations.

Should land be acquired late, there is a risk it will delay the overall construction programme.

Planning campaigner Rosie Pearson said: “The HIF bid car crash that I have been warning about for quite some time is now happening before our eyes. Essex County Council was warned the contract for funding for the link road was impossible to keep. If the deadline is missed, the council cannot draw down any more money from Homes England.”

The county council has said that before it can begin construction of the road it needs to secure ownership of the relevant land.

Negotiations with landowners continue, but not all are complete, it added.

But crucially if these negotiations cannot be concluded in a timely fashion so the necessary criteria are met, the county council will consider making compulsory purchase orders in order to provide assurance that the land will be acquired in time.

A spokesperson for Essex County Council said: “On a large scale infrastructure project with several different landowners, it is normal for land owner negotiations to take some time as the scheme progresses through the design stages.

“Whilst it remains the ambition to acquire land by agreement, Essex County Council is preparing compulsory purchase orders to ensure the overall programme can be met.”

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