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Essex: Transport in Essex is set for a £755m funding boost

The A12 at Boreham, north Chelmsford

The A12 at Boreham, north Chelmsford

Senior county councillors agreed yesterday to put forward £115million of tax payer’s money to boost infrastructure projects in Essex.

Along with an anticipated additional £17million from district, borough and city councils, it is hoped the money would draw out £186million pounds from private developers, £350million from central government and a further £105million from public bodies such as Network Rail.

Around 80% of the total - £755m - will be spent on transport schemes.

Transport projects have already been prioritised by Essex County Council, with schemes such as dualling the A120 from Braintree to Marks Tey and Hare Green to Harwich, increasing capacity on the main rail line, and improving the A12 at the top end of the list.

The government money is subject to a bid by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) from the Single Local Growth Fund.

County Hall’s spending was approved during a cabinet meeting and senior councillors also agreed the Essex section of the bid, due to be submitted at the end of this month.

The overall SELEP bid hopes to attract £1.2billion for Essex, Kent and East Sussex, to be spent by 2021-22.

Kevin Bentley, deputy leader and councillor for economic growth and infrastructure said: “This is not just us saying to government ‘give us the money’, we are putting up our own too.

“We need an extremely good transport system to make our area economically viable.

“We have a good one, and I think Essex is the only county in Britain to have one road linking an international sea port with an international airport, but in the future traffic will increase and we have to be prepared.

“Although this looks up until 2022 the knock-on effects will carry on for generations to come - we are looking at creating jobs for people not even born yet.

“We are in competition with the rest of the country for a limited pot of funding so our plans need to be smart, achievable and demonstrate investment brings economic returns and stronger communities.”

Mr Bentley has also been chosen to lead negotiations with Government on the Growth Deal.

Simon Brice, chairman of the Greater Essex Business Board, added: “We are delighted Essex County Council is contributing £115m into the Strategic Economic Plan.

“This is a significant commitment and shows the council is committed to promoting and growing business within Essex over the next six years.”

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