A DATE for when long-awaited work on a link road in Colchester will begin has still not been set despite the town’s fast-growing population.

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A scheme to extend the Northern Approach Road, which would join the A12 with Colchester North Station, was due to be carried out at the beginning of the year.

But it was pushed back to the summer before being re-scheduled again for this winter.

Last night a spokesman at Essex County Council (ECC), which is leading the project, said the scheme had been put out to tender but did not say when the work would begin.

The first leg of the road - from North Station to Mill Road - has been built and the third leg - from Junction 28 off the Colchester Northern By-pass - has opened. But the latter only stretches for about 100 yards near Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Work is yet to begin on the middle section which will go through the grounds of the former Severalls Hospital.

It is hoped the road will help ease congestion in Colchester where the population has spiked by more than 17,000 in a decade.

Earlier this week Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell raised concerns about delays to the infrastructure work in the House of Commons during the third reading of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill.

He accused the land owners - North Essex Mental Health NHS Trust - of stalling progress.

Sir Bob said he also raised the issue with Chief Secretary of the Treasury Danny Alexander.

Speaking last night Sir Bob said: “This has been dragging on for years. I am hoping raising it in Parliament and with Danny Alexander, hopefully the various Government departments will put the pressure on.”

Sir Bob said although he did not think the new road would be a full solution to the traffic problems it would allow traffic to move a little better and hopefully lead to future housing developments being built in Severalls as opposed to Mile End.

A spokesman from ECC said: “At present discussions are ongoing between Essex County Council, Colchester Borough Council, Homes and Communities Agency and the North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust regarding the scheme funding.

“The scheme has been out to tender and the intention is that as soon as agreement is reached between all partners the successful contractor will be appointed.”

In a statement issued by the Trust, a spokesman said: “The Trust does not have any extra land space. The land that we have is currently being used to provide mental health services.”

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