£99.9m announced for link road to pull traffic out of Essex
PUBLISHED: 16:29 18 August 2019
Almost £100million has been green-lit by Westminster to invest in roads and public transport in north Essex - but only if new homes are built.
A £99.9m cash pot is set aside in the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to build a road connecting the crammed A120 and A133 north of Colchester, as well as adding public transport links between the town and a potential garden community of 9,000 new homes on the Colchester-Tendring border.
But, the money can only be used if the homes are built there - meaning it is down to councillors and planning inspectors to approved them development and include it in their local plan.
The government sets housing development targets for every area of the country, with councils required to build a certain number every year.
Colchester MP Will Quince has celebrated the approval of the money.
"This is about undoing the last 15-20 years of developments in and around Colchester.
"The plan for the homes on the Tendering-Colchester border is a long-term plan rather than homes being built each year across the town.
"The majority of the money is designate for a link road between the A133 and the A120, which will mitigate the traffic heading down Ipswich Road and Cowdray Avenue.
"That traffic off the roads means less congestion, and even better it connects to the University of Essex.
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"The rest of the money will go towards providing good public transport links between the new garden community and the town, whether that's dedicated bus lanes or electric buses or even trams."
The money announced in the HIF is for one of three garden communities planned to be built across the north of Essex. The second is west of Marks Tey and the third is West of Braintree.
The project is being led by North Essex Garden Communities, who hope to see the three new towns - and the potential 43,000 homes they would contain - be built before 2050.
Another £218m from the HIF is designated for a new train station between Chelmsford and Hatfield Peverel.
The two are used by commuters heading to London and Norwich on the main line, but the long-awaited Baulieu station, to be built near Boreham, should ease congestion at both those stations.
More than half of the £600m announced by Chancellor Sajid Javid on August 16 has been given to Essex projects.
Colchester's Green councillor, Mark Goacher, welcomed the allocation of money for public transport, but would like to see a different approach made to meet housing targets.
"Central government sets the targets for developing houses across the country, and at the rate they are expecting them to be built in South East England "I can see a future where there's nothing but houses and people.
"If these homes need to be built, other solutions need to be considered - things like using more brownfield sites.
"The garden communities could build upwards as well. If you need to meet these targets for homes in the future, building upwards is one way to solve that problem."