Easter protest planned against heritage park

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop a countryside heritage centre are set to create traffic chaos on Easter Monday in a bid to highlight their concerns about the �25million development.

James Hore

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop a countryside heritage centre are set to create traffic chaos on Easter Monday in a bid to highlight their concerns about the �25million development.

Horkesley Park is the vision of Bunting and Sons and would be a heritage and conservation centre hoping to attract nearly 500,000 visitors every year.

The family-run firm say their “celebration of the English countryside” will help generate 270 jobs during the recession and are hoping to get the go-ahead from Colchester Borough Council.

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However, it has now emerged that opponents, the Stour Valley Action Group (SVAG), are planning a demonstration on Monday in an attempt to highlight the increased number of vehicles the park will generate.

The protesters have said they will provide their own “holiday traffic”, including lorries and farm vehicles, which will gather near to the site before driving a circuit between Nayland and Great Horkesley.

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They are hoping for a big turnout for what they want to be a good-natured event.

A spokeswoman said: “One of our major concerns about the Horkesley Park development is the vast increase in traffic we believe that it will bring to the A134 and to the narrow lanes in the surrounding area.

“These roads are already overcrowded and dangerous, yet Bunting and Sons are talking about bringing in 485,000 visitors just in the first year of opening.

“Calculated for the peak month of August, that's 77,632 visitors coming along the A134.”

She said she hoped it would give an idea of just what people could expect on what would normally be a “peaceful day”.

“We have called a rally on Easter Monday morning to demonstrate our concern about the impact this traffic would have on our roads, our villages and our everyday lives.

“If Horkesley Park was up and running, the Easter holiday would undoubtedly be another peak time. So we are providing our own holiday traffic, and this will mingle with cars of residents, supply lorries and working farm vehicles.”

The group plans to meet from 11am until noon at the junction of the A134 and London Road.

According to the Bunting and Sons' planning application, the increases in traffic from Horkesley Park will have an “insignificant impact” on the surrounding roads.

A transport assessment, prepared for Colchester Borough Council by independent national specialists, stated: “Horkesley Park will generate a modest amount of traffic during the traditional peak periods, and will generate its highest levels of traffic during the weekend periods, when background traffic flows are lower.

“It is concluded that the Horkesley Park proposals are entirely acceptable in terms of traffic and transport impacts.”

Mr Bunting added: “As part of the planning application a travel plan has been provided which heavily promotes the use of public transport which Horkesley Park will enhance as necessary to provide a viable alternative to use of private cars.''


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