Businesses back transport report

AN organisation that represents small businesses in Essex has given its backing to a report which calls for major improvements to the county's transport network.

Annie Davidson

AN organisation that represents small businesses in Essex has given its backing to a report which calls for major improvements to the county's transport network.

Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has thrown its weight behind the Haven Gateway Partnership's integrated development programme, which was made public for the first time last week.

The wide-reaching report covers issues ranging from tourism and regeneration to housing and flood defences and outlines what the group believes is needed in the area up to 2021 and beyond.


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The partnership was formed in 2001 and works to promote the economy and prosperity around the five Haven Gateway ports of Harwich international and navyard, Ipswich, Mistley and Felixstowe.

The development programme outlines the need for a number of projects to go ahead, including the new A12 junction at Cuckoo Farm, as well as increased capacity on the road at the Copdock Interchange.

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It also calls for the A120 Braintree stretch to be upgraded and new park and ride schemes for Colchester.

David Wenham, Essex FSB transport spokesman, said: “The new programme launched by the Haven Gateway Partnership highlights the need for investment in transport infrastructure in this part of the county - something which Essex FSB has been lobbying for over recent years.”

Keith Brown, Essex FSB county secretary, added: “Essex FSB did a survey of the A12 in the spring as part of the A12 enquiry that (Essex County Council leader) Lord Hanningfield organised and we found that 84% of journeys that small businesses did along the A12 were delayed for ten minutes or more.

“We were amazed at the result of the survey but this is the feedback we got from our 3,500 members.

“It is the same old story - time is money. Some goods are time critical and need to be delivered on time for customers.”

Mr Brown said better road links were vital - especially with the planned expansion of Stansted Airport and the development of Harwich International Port.

“We will be lobbying alongside the Haven Gateway to the Highways Agency to try and persuade them to allocate funds for particular schemes as well as lobbying nationally to try and persuade the transport minister Geoff Hoon to release more money so these things can be implemented,” he said. “We think local Government and the business community working together gives the Haven Gateway area a much stronger voice.”

At the end of last month the Government announced it would be investing £60m in improvements along the 54-mile stretch of the A12 in Essex with work set to start in 2011/12.

At the time Mr Hoon said: “With this new package of technology in place, the Highways Agency's regional control centre would be able to identify incidents more quickly, deploy appropriate emergency service response and relay tactical and strategic advice to road users who can still change their travel plans.”

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