'New junction needed before stadium'

COLCHESTER'S new football stadium should not be built before a new junction on the A12, a parish council chairman has insisted.Robert Johnstone, of Myland Parish Council, confirmed he would oppose moves to allow construction of the stadium before the major interchange was created nearby.

By Roddy Ashworth

COLCHESTER'S new football stadium should not be built before a new junction on the A12, a parish council chairman has insisted.

Robert Johnstone, of Myland Parish Council, confirmed he would oppose moves to allow construction of the stadium before the major interchange was created nearby.

Originally, local planners had ruled that a new junction should be built before the stadium so that traffic could access the north Colchester facility without having to drive up from the centre of town and through residential areas.


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But now they are seeking to remove the restriction so that work on the 10,000-seater project - which will provide a new home for Colchester United - can begin as early as next spring.

The football team are currently playing in out-dated and run-down facilities at a ground in Layer Road, which has a capacity of just over 6,000.

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Earlier this week Colchester Borough Council agreed to borrow up to £14.2million to bankroll the building of the stadium at Cuckoo Farm.

But the Highways Agency has still not announced exactly when it will build the new A12 junction, and if the stadium project is delayed further it could lose a vital injection of cash from the Football Foundation, rendering the scheme uneconomical.

Yesterday Mr Johnstone said although he supported the project in principle, he was concerned that Myland residents would face major problems with traffic and disturbance if the main access to the stadium was through the area.

“If the stadium is built before the junction we are worried about the increased traffic in Myland.

“There will be problems with parking in side streets, and I think the area most at risk is the area of new housing just off Mill Road, towards the Severalls Lane end.

“People will drive and park there and in Highwoods. There is another problem with the huge influx of pedestrians.

“Apart from people in cars, there are still another 7,000 - 8,000 people who will have to get there by other means, either walking from North Station or other parts of the town.”

Mr Johnstone said that although the parish council was keen to become involved with the community benefits the stadium could bring, unless the infrastructure to cope with traffic and associated issues was addressed it could not support it.

However Robert Davidson, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said if the stadium project were delayed until the junction was built the entire scheme would become uneconomical and have to be abandoned.

“If we wait for the junction there is no stadium. It is as simple as that. Mr Johnstone's concerns will be addressed. While we are aware that Myland has traffic concerns I am clear that this project has to be delivered now while funding is available.”

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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