Park-and-ride hope for town
By Sharon AsplinA COUNCIL has pledged to push ahead with a long-awaited scheme to provide park-and-ride facilities in the west of Colchester.Moves to put in place park-and-ride schemes for the west and north of the town were first discussed by Colchester Borough Council in 1999, but no specific site has yet been pinpointed.
By Sharon Asplin
A COUNCIL has pledged to push ahead with a long-awaited scheme to provide park-and-ride facilities in the west of Colchester.
Moves to put in place park-and-ride schemes for the west and north of the town were first discussed by Colchester Borough Council in 1999, but no specific site has yet been pinpointed.
Now negotiations are under way to secure land in Stanway for a park-and-ride site and councillors are hoping it could open as early as next spring.
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In the medium term, the council wants to open a park-and-ride site at Cuckoo Farm, just off the A12 to the north of the town.
But it is likely to take three years before the new A12 junction is open, indicating the park-and-ride scheme may not be available for use until 2007 at the earliest.
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A second site is also earmarked for Stanway, with several possible locations easily accessible to the A12 and the A1124 junction.
However, no scheme has yet been put forward that fits in with the local plan for the redevelopment of that area.
Andrew Budd, the council's head of environmental policy, said it had considered opening a temporary park-and-ride site as soon as possible, but that had been rejected.
“It is essential that any temporary park-and-ride site is good quality and this means it has to be well-surfaced and drained - a muddy experience is not good enough for our customers.
“These criteria come at a price. Unless a site is already paved, large investment in surfacing is needed, which is difficult to justify if it has, say, a three-year use.
“We have, therefore, been looking at ways of implementing at least part of the schemes at Cuckoo Farm and Stanway in advance of the long-term dates.”
Mr Budd said it was more likely the Stanway scheme could be operational sooner because it already had access to the A12.
Negotiations are now under way with the Warren family to secure a suitable parcel of land near the Moat House Hotel at Eight Ash Green.
“The negotiations are going well and I am pleased with the progress we are making,” said Mr Budd.
“We are not making any promises, but hopefully in a few months we could have the details sorted out, with next spring the earliest date for opening.”
Colchester Borough Council will now work with Essex County Council to finalise funding for the park-and-ride scheme.
The issue will be discussed by the borough council's strategic overview and scrutiny panel on Tuesday.