A TOTAL of £1.67million of taxpayers’ cash was spent on plans for a dual carriageway on the A120, which were later scrapped.

Community leaders branded the figure, released to the Gazette under the Freedom of Information Act, as a waste of public money.

The £500million proposal was axed in July, after the East of England Regional Assembly and East of England Development Agency said it was unaffordable.

Braintree Green Party district councillor James Abbott said the public funds had been “effectively wasted”.

He said: “We have ended up with the worst of all worlds, where we have got nothing on the table, but have found out they spent more than £1million of public money.”

Braintree Conservative MP Brooks Newmark said: “It is another example of Government waste, and not thinking through in planning, when it comes to infrastructure in our area.

“I am not a specialist in this stuff, and clearly, when one is coming up with a plan, one has to spend a certain amount of money doing this background work.

“The result is, £1million-plus of taxpayers’ money has been spent yet this project appears to have been shelved.”

Highways Agency spokesman Jenny Thompson said: “This was a major project, which had to go through a statutory process.

“It is right everybody is consulted, and that takes money and resources.”