Colchester could say goodbye to St Botolph’s roundabout in bid to reduce traffic, crime and pollution problems

Significant changes could be made to St Botolph's roundabout in Colchester. Picture: SARAH LUCY BRO

Significant changes could be made to St Botolph's roundabout in Colchester. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Colchester’s St Botolph’s roundabout could be filled in in a bid to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and anti-social behaviour.

Colchester councillor Mike Lilley is hopeful the proposals will receive backing from the authority.

Colchester councillor Mike Lilley is hopeful the proposals will receive backing from the authority. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Essex County Council Highways is in early talks to put a pedestrian plaza over part of the current site next to Colchester Town Station and the magistrates’ courts.

A new junction would be created connecting Southway, Mersea Road, St Botolph’s Street and Magdalen Street, controlled by traffic lights.

The details emerged at a Highways meeting this week.

Mike Lilley, Colchester Council’s portfolio holder for public safety and licencing, said he thought the plans would work well with the regeneration of St Botolph’s, including the soon to be opened Curzon cinema.

He said: “Highways has about four different options to improve the area, because really it is in a terrible state.

“One of the things they are looking at is filling in St Botolph’s roundabout, putting in a pedestrian crossing and creating a plaza.

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“Plans are only at the initial stage and it will go to a Colchester Council cabinet board meeting before it is decided which option is best.

“If it’s going to improve traffic flow, air quality and cycling routes then I’m all for it. But we will have to wait and see.”

The four options, which Highways has not yet made public, are thought to detail different ways in which the proposals could happen.

Among the early proposals is creating a new junction between Southway and Stanwell Street to enable right turning both ways and access to St John’s car park. New cycle routes are also on the cards.

Mr Lilley said the idea was to take traffic away from the roundabouts at St Botolph’s and Maldon Road by stopping people going back on themselves to reach their destinations.

He said: “If people don’t have to go round those roundabouts because of new turnings then we are not creating more problems.

“We are a car crazy town, but we can’t let them dictate everything.

“Highways seems quite confident it’s happening and they make sense on paper.

“Hopefully we will give the go ahead at cabinet level. We believe it could happen within three years once it has approval.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “We are investigating improvements to St Botolph’s roundabout, looking to create a key ‘gateway’ access point into the town centre. The key objectives are to support regeneration and stimulate economic growth while improving air quality, traffic flow and reducing anti-social behaviour.

“Details will be released and public information events arranged outlining the scheme proposal once the investigations have been completed.”

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