£272m A12 funding scrapped after garden communities rejected
- Credit: Archant
More than £270 million to improve the A12 and A120 has been withdrawn by the government.
District and county councils secured £272million of central government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) as part of plans to build 45,000 homes across north Essex in three garden communities – one of which was the highly controversial West Tey to be built at the junction of the A12 and the A120.
Two of the developments, including West Tey, were found to be “unsound” by a planning inspector and the plans are currently being revised, but the inspector’s decision has led the government to withdraw the funding.
Rosie Pearson of the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex (CAUSE), celebrated the announcement.
“The fact this change to the road is gone means the world to people living in that area, they are delighted,” she said.
“The bid for the HIF should have been for something the people want and need.
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“It was a huge sum of money that could have been spent on cycle paths or public transport.”
Despite losing out on the funding, the trunk road is still expected to be upgraded.
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“The A12 is still going to be upgraded, this funding was just to move part of the A12 so they could fit more houses on the land,” added Ms Pearson.
Plans to add another lane to the A12 and A120 are still expected to go ahead, while the third garden community on the Colchester-Tendring border is still likely to be built.
Colchester MP Will Quince is lobbying central government to keep the plans on track.
“It was inevitable this funding would be withdrawn, all along we know this was funding specifically to help with housing growth,” said Mr Quince.
“That being said, the developments west of Colchester were less viable than the one to the east and there is still £99.9m of the HIF for a rapid transport system and what will essentially be a north Colchester bypass off of the A133.”
An Essex County Council spokesman said: “A key reason for the council supporting plans for new garden communities across the county is that it allows the council to secure investment for infrastructure before houses are built.
“Our success in gaining government approval for £600m HIF funding into the county demonstrated this.
“It’s therefore disappointing that the A12 funding will now not come forward.
“With our partners, Essex County Council is pressing ahead to deliver the proposed garden community schemes for Tendring/Colchester borders and North East Chelmsford as well as in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council for the Harlow-Gilston Garden community.”