Councillor's anger over A120 routes
A COUNCILLOR has claimed the public is being kept in the dark about the proposed route for a controversial new road. James Abbott, Green Party councillor with Braintree District Council, said the Highways Agency should reveal the location of five potential routes for a new dual carriageway of the A120 between Braintree and Marks Tey.
By Annie Davidson
A COUNCILLOR has claimed the public is being kept in the dark about the proposed route for a controversial new road.
James Abbott, Green Party councillor with Braintree District Council, said the Highways Agency should reveal the location of five potential routes for a new dual carriageway of the A120 between Braintree and Marks Tey.
The exact details of the new routes will not be revealed until the summer, when the agency has finished fully assessing them.
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The five alternative routes emerged after a public consultation was held in February last year into the new road.
At the time, a further four routes were put forward for the public to comment on. The most recent five came from suggestions put forward by the public and other interested parties during the consultation period.
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They include modifications to the existing favoured option, known as the southern route, which would be built off the A12 just before Feering, and completely alternative routes.
A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said: “While options are being assessed, the Highways Agency does not publish any information about routes.
“Once the assessments are completed and a preferred route announcement has been made, details of the options and the economic and environmental assessments will be available.”
But Mr Abbott claimed residents were being kept in the dark and should be told where the new route could go.
“My phone has not stopped for a year and a bit with worried people phoning me on a regular basis,” he said.
“Some of them live in the area or are thinking of buying a house in the area and want to know what we have heard.
“People are worried, there are houses that won't sell and the road won't even be started for another five years at the earliest so will that blight last for five years?”
He added: “When we have public meetings people are arguing with each other because they don't want it in their backyard but they don't mind it in someone else's - it really has been the most divisive thing since I became a councillor and I lay the blame entirely at the door of the county council and the Highways Agency who have been high-handed and shown virtually zero regard for local communities.”
Mr Abbott, who represents Bradwell, Silver End and Rivenhall, also claimed the original consultation had not been handled well by the Highways Agency.
But a spokeswoman for the agency said: “It is not that we are leaving people in the dark, we have listened and now we are looking at what modifications there could be to the proposed southern route which was the preferred option and to other routes as well.”