Park and Ride plan set for rethink

THE leader of Colchester Borough Council is set to meet with whoever succeeds Rodney Bass as the head of transport in Essex with a new proposal for an alternative park and ride site near the town.

THE leader of Colchester Borough Council is set to meet with whoever succeeds Rodney Bass as the head of transport in Essex with a new proposal for an alternative park and ride site near the town.

Current plans would see a site built to the west of the town in the village of Eight Ash Green - a move fiercely opposed by local residents.

Now borough council leader Robert Davidson has said making early delivery of park and ride in the north of Colchester should be Essex County Council's “highest priority” for the town.

Mr Bass will step down from the role of highways and transportation portfolio holder after May 1 following a failed bid to replace Lord Hanningfield as council leader earlier this week.


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Mr Davidson said a change of location, at the proposed A12 junction near Colchester United's new Cuckoo Farm stadium, could see park and ride coming to the town at least a year sooner than under the current plan.

Mr Davidson said: “The health authority decision to market the Severalls Hospital site (near Cuckoo Farm) has enabled us to focus on ways of bringing forward the new A12 junction in north Colchester.

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“We believe that by undertaking preparatory legal and design work ourselves and opening discussions with the Highways Agency we could cut at least a year from the anticipated 2010 opening date.

“Given that the borough council already owns the land at Cuckoo Farm and that most of the bus-priority corridor into the town centre already exists, I believe it should now be possible to deliver park-and-ride here sooner than west Colchester.”

Mr Davidson said a park-and-ride site in north Colchester would be able to offer at least 1,000 spaces to drivers from a greater area than any other site so far considered.

He added: “Now that it could come as soon as 2009, it is vital that we engage with our partners at Essex County Council to discuss preparation of the formal business case and planning application.

“I look forward to meeting the new county transportation portfolio holder in early May - we have a lot of work to do.”

The announcement received the backing of North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin, who said he was “delighted” to hear the news that the Eight Ash Green site could be scrapped.

He said: “I am delighted that Colchester Borough Council will now be considering sites to the north of the town.

“I fully support plans for a park and ride in Colchester, however I had deep reservations about the location of the site in Eight Ash Green and the impact it would have had on traffic through the village.

“I am hopeful that the new county transportation portfolio holder will be open to Colchester Borough Council's suggestion of a park and ride at Cuckoo Farm.”

A spokesman for the county council said there had been no plans to reconsider the development since Mr Bass's decision to step down.

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