Fears over new A120 route
A COUNCILLOR believes a potential route for a controversial new road could cause the destruction of thousands of acres of “precious” countryside.James Abbott, Green Party councillor on Braintree District Council, said the Highways Agency had admitted it had been having early talks about the potential route for a new dualled A120 between Braintree and Marks Tey.
A COUNCILLOR believes a potential route for a controversial new road could cause the destruction of thousands of acres of “precious” countryside.
James Abbott, Green Party councillor on Braintree District Council, said the Highways Agency had admitted it had been having early talks about the potential route for a new dualled A120 between Braintree and Marks Tey.
He said as neither the public nor Braintree council had yet been consulted, the agency had acted in a “high-handed” manner.
The Braintree-Marks Tey stretch, which was announced by the Secretary of State for Transport last year, will link to the recently opened A120 dual carriageway to Stansted Airport.
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Mr Abbott said he had received a letter from the agency confirming talks with Essex County Council and making references to “future developments” on the disused Rivenhall Airfield.
He said this suggested planners wanted to plough the road, which he claimed would be built to six-lane motorway standard, directly through the airfield and away from the existing single-lane route.
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He was due to raise his concerns at full Braintree council meeting last night, but he told the EADT yesterday: “I think they want the road to by-pass Bradwell, to go through the area of the airfield, avoid Coggeshall Hamlet and re-emerge south of Marks Tey.
“Instead of following the existing route as much as possible, I think they are planning to destroy communities and farmlands with another offline road.
“Although I think it would be opened as four lanes, it could be wide enough to expand to six lanes ready for a motorway – just like the Stansted stretch.
“It could mean increased extraction at the gravel pits around the airfield and cause tremendous fear and anxiety to residents because of the lorry movements.
“It's an absolute bombshell for us all and completely unacceptable.”
He added: “The Highways Agency may say the discussions were high level, but to us they were high-handed.”
A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency confirmed discussions had taken place with Essex County Council, but these were merely to help the local authority's “early research” on the design of the new route.
She added: “We are currently looking at design options for this project and are hoping to hold a public consultation later this year.”
“The Highways Agency will consider all comments and suggestions before the preferred route is announced next year.”
A spokeswoman for Braintree District Council said it had not yet received any plans or propositions for the route of the road.