New road 'could destory countryside'

VAST swathes of beautiful countryside could be destroyed by a major new road slicing through Essex, it was claimed yesterday. Hundreds of people gathered to send the powerful message to the Highways Agency, which is planning to build a £220 million route for the A120 running through the outskirts of Coggeshall, Kelvedon and Feering.

VAST swathes of beautiful countryside could be destroyed by a major new road slicing through Essex, it was claimed yesterday.

Hundreds of people gathered to send the powerful message to the Highways Agency, which is planning to build a £220 million route for the A120 running through the outskirts of Coggeshall, Kelvedon and Feering.

Many are concerned the "peace and quiet" of the area could be lost forever if the road scheme, between Braintree to Marks Tey, gets the go-ahead.

Large crowds of people gathered yesterday afternoon to highlight their concerns about the proposed route where the four-lane trunk road could be.


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Alan Willis, the chairman of the Blackwater Action Group action group which organised the event, said people wanted options and alternatives.

"We have been delighted with the turnout today - the main thing we are trying to do is alert people to what would be destroyed - a lovely bit of countryside.

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"We are trying to get other roads investigated and we think it should be an exercise that looks at the A12 and A120 together.

"We are asking for options because we think the route chosen does the most damage to a beautiful area."

Group member Bill Gore, added: "The public consultation comes to an end on June 16, but it is difficult to have public consultation when there is only one route.

"I think the best solution is to look at all the routes and do it properly - there are two to three to the north of Coggeshall which may have merit, the current route does not have merit, and nowhere has the Highways Agency looked further south at the shortest route which would take in the Rivenhall area.

"The key message from everybody is we do not like this route and it has to be opposed and it is interesting that the political parties are all at one on this."

The Highways Agency has said its choice of route is "environmentally sound" and offers a good return for public investment.

It has admitted there will be an "adverse" affect on the countryside, but said it will mitigate against it.

"We keep repeating that this is a consultation and we want people to let us know what they think," said a spokesman.

Plans for the A120 dual carriageway were launched and put out to public consultation in February and, despite attracting criticism, some people in the traffic-choked villages on the existing A120 have welcomed them.

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