New A12 junction gets go ahead

A LONG awaited junction on the A12 north of Colchester has finally been given the go-ahead and will be built by March 2011, it was announced yesterday.

Roddy Ashworth

A LONG awaited junction on the A12 north of Colchester has finally been given the go-ahead and will be built by March 2011, it was announced yesterday.

Plans for the interchange, designed to open up the north of Colchester for development and increase use of the town's community stadium, were granted vital funding from the Government.

Proposals to build the �11.2 million junction, which have been on the table for more than 10 years, were given the green light by the Community Infrastructure Fund.

The news means that work on the new junction will begin almost immediately.

Next month an announcement of additional funding - through the Homes and Communities Agency - is expected to back the construction of a link road that will allow smooth access from the new junction right through to the town centre.

Most Read

It is hoped the new junction will kick-start the development of the former Severalls Hospital site, which includes 1,500 houses and more than 129,000m2 of nearby commercial floorspace, which would potentially lead to the creation of around 5,000 jobs,

The junction will also improve access to existing housing in north Colchester and the existing Severalls Business Estate, reduce congestion on local residential roads and relieve pressure on the busy A12 Crown Interchange.

It will also allow the creation of a park and ride scheme in north Colchester and allow the lifting of a number of strict restrictions covering activities at the town's community stadium, which was opened last year alongside the future junction site.

Yesterday Anne Turrell, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “This is great news. The delivery of the A12 junction and associated infrastructure is a key element of the council's exciting plans.

“Not only will it open up more land for development in north Colchester but it will support the sustainable growth of the town centre.”

Norman Hume, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “Improved accessibility from the A12 is an important priority and will enable us to generate jobs and wealth in a rapidly expanding area.”

A spokesman for Colchester United, which plays its home games in the community stadium, said: “We are delighted to hear the news that this funding has been secured for what will be an invaluable addition to the transport infrastructure surrounding the stadium.

“The junction forms a major part of the development of the north Colchester area and will clearly assist us as we look to continue the great strides made in the first nine months of the stadium being up and running.”

Dave Murthwaite, chairman of Colchester Community Stadium Ltd, said: “This is fantastic news. I am really pleased. It will make a massive difference to north Colchester in general and the stadium in particular.

“At the moment there are significant restrictions about other development and buildings near the stadium because of the lack of appropriate road access.

“This also means that on match days we have had to introduce specialist travel plans with stewards, special buses, parking restrictions and other measures.

“Opening the new junction before the stadium was an important move, but required compromise from everyone involved including the local community.

“Now this will change. I think that the officers and councillors of both Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council deserve sincere congratulations for making this finally happen.”