Manningtree rail crossing traffic ‘should be dealt with by Brantham developers’

The rail bridge and crossing gates on the A137 at Manningtree. Picture: Jerry Turner

The rail bridge and crossing gates on the A137 at Manningtree. Picture: Jerry Turner

Calls have been made for traffic problems around the railway crossing at Manningtree to be tackled as part of a major development scheme in Brantham.

Tendring District Council has objected to the plans for 320 new homes, 54,123sqm of employment land and 1,440sqm of retail and community use – unless new highway measures are introduced.

The proposal has been put forward for Brantham Industrial Estate and there are serious fears it will significantly add to the existing congestion in the area of the crossing.

Tendring District Council has submitted a holding objection to the development to Babergh District Council, who will rule on the proposals, but has said it is willing to withdraw it if new traffic measures are put in place before the site is occupied.

Neil Stock, Tendring District Council’s leader and cabinet member for planning, said it is important to take a stand for the sake of residents and businesses in the Manningtree, Lawford and Mistley areas.

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He said: “While the current issues surrounding highway capacity at the A137 crossing remain we feel we have no option but to object to the scheme at Brantham.

“However, if an acceptable mitigation package can be put together and agreed it would be an ideal way to tackle the congestion which occurs on a daily basis and affects the lives of so many people either side of the Stour.”

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Mr Stock said Babergh District Council has duty to co-operate on strategic matters of cross-boundary significance.

“This is without doubt a matter of significance due to the potential impact of the Brantham development on both local traffic and the economic potential of the area,” he added.

“The removal of the bottleneck at the A137 crossing is a high priority for us and the local community in that area, both sides of the river.”

Mr Stock said Babergh District Council had quite rightly submitted holding objections to schemes for 300 homes in Mistley and 360 homes in Lawford on the same grounds.

While the decision on one of those applications has been taken out of the authority’s hands after the developer launched an appeal to the planning inspector on the ground of non-determination, the council’s planning committee recently agreed it would have refused the plans – partly due to highway capacity issues.

Mr Stock said both Essex and Suffolk county councils are working with others to come up with a set of traffic mitigation measures for the area, and hoped their recommendations will soon be announced and progress made on the issue.

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