A BUSINESS leader is urging councillors to get Colchester’s first park and ride site finished and open as soon as possible.

A handful of people with homes near the proposed facility at Cuckoo Farm, just off the A12, north of Colchester, have raised fears the scheme will ruin their peace and quiet.

Their concerns prompted Mile End councillor Martin Goss to suggest the plans should be reviewed because the facility was too close to homes.

But Michelle Reynolds, chairman of Colchester Retail Business Association, is keen to see the scheme up and running as soon as possible.

She explained: “We welcome a park and ride in Colchester and want it as soon as we can have it.

“If there are going to be any hiccups they need to be sorted out as quickly as possible.”

Mr Goss, who has long pushed for better roads in Mile End, said he was right behind the idea of a park and ride scheme for Colchester, but agreed with neighbours at Cuckoo Farm that the site was too close to their cottages.

He added: “It also concerns me none of the residents was told about the plans before they were put out to consultation. No one has consulted them – it has all come as a shock.

“I say yes to the park and ride, but there must be something we can do to reduce the impact on these residents.”

Essex County Council’s exhibition on plans for a 1,000-space car park, with shuttle bus facilities at Cuckoo Farm, starts on Thursday at Colchester Library.

Details of the scheme’s cost, how it would be funded and when work could start have yet to be revealed.

Anne Turrell, Colchester Council leader, said she was keen to help residents to find a solution.

She added: “The plans are not out yet, so it is difficult to comment on the residents’ concerns. However, I fully support the park and ride scheme in Colchester. It will be brilliant for residents and people who work here and travel in from Tendring.

“It will significantly reduce congestion, which is a major problem. Every other town which has had a park and ride scheme has benefited from it.”

Neighbour Nigel King, 49, lives in Cuckoo Farm Cottages in Boxted Road, just 20 metres from the proposed development.

He claims the scheme would be an invasion of his privacy and destroy the tranquil life he and wife, Jackie, currently enjoy.

He said: “Our lives won’t be the same again. We will suffer noise pollution and so will all the wildlife there.”

“People live in the countryside for the tranquil life, for the peace and quiet, the wildlife and the beauty of it.