Bosses' rallying cry for A12 upgrade

BUSINESS chiefs from Essex have urged a major regeneration project to support the campaign to upgrade the A12.

Elliot Furniss

BUSINESS chiefs from Essex have urged a major regeneration project to support the campaign to upgrade the A12.

The Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has asked the Haven Gateway Partnership, which promotes the economic opportunities of ports in Harwich, Ipswich, Mistley and Felixstowe, to back the fight.

Essex County Council is currently holding a groundbreaking independent inquiry into the road's performance - which has experienced increasing problems of congestion and delays in recent years and is considered by many users to be operating above capacity.

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The local branch of the FSB, which represents the interests of 3,500 members, has now asked the partnership to work with the council and push for the Government to pay for any improvements the inquiry recommends.

Ian Cass, Essex FSB transport spokesman, said: “If the Haven Gateway is to prove a success and attract the type of investment and new employment opportunities it hopes to bring to north Essex then the transport infrastructure needs to be right.”

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At the moment the A12 is the only road to link north Essex directly to the motorway network yet it is being used at well over its planned capacity and the slightest problem on the road can have a massive impact on the region's economy, he said.

Mr Cass adedd: “The FSB has anecdotal evidence that people are already refusing jobs in Colchester and Tendring because it means using the A12 to reach them as the lost time and frustration caused by the inadequacy of the current road network outweighs the benefits of better salary and prospects.

“Essex FSB is asking the Haven Gateway to work in partnership with Essex County Council to persuade the Government to allocate the funds necessary to upgrade the A12 as such improvements would have direct benefits on the attractiveness of firms and individuals to relocate to the area.”

David Ralph, chief executive of the Haven Gateway Partnership, said: “Investment in key transport routes across the sub-region, including the A12, is vital - to match the extent of growth and to support economic and business expansion.”

The FSB represents more than 211,000 companies and individuals across the UK and is the largest single organisation representing business interests in the country.

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