Protestors demonstrate at road ceremony

PLACARD-bearing protesters who have campaigned against a new road mounted a demonstration at its official opening.Phase two of the Colchester Northern Approaches road was opened yesterdayby Essex County Council chairman Anthony Peel and Colchester Mayor Chris Hall.

PLACARD-bearing protesters who have campaigned against a new road mounted a demonstration at its official opening.

Phase two of the Colchester Northern Approaches road was opened yesterdayby Essex County Council chairman Anthony Peel and Colchester Mayor Chris Hall.

The opening was carried out after speeches in a builder's hut beside the road and a minute's silence to honour the six Military Police soldiers killed in Iraq.

The road runs through the Mile End district of Colchester, cutting Mill Road in half.


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About 50 people from Mile End staged a protest as the road was opened, calling for an underpass to take the Northern Approaches under Mill Road.

Protesters claim the junction between Mill Road and the new road is a danger, especially for children walking to and from Myland School in Mill Road, and for the elderly.

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The chair of Myland Parish Council, Joan Beeson, who turned down an invitation to attend the opening, took part in the demonstration.

"Realistically, the junction is here. But there's an opportunity for it to be looked at again. Northern Approaches phase three, which will go from the Mill Road intersection to a new A12 junction, is due to come up at a planning meeting soon."

"We would like an underpass for the safety of our children. We have our primary school just a couple of hundred yards up the road."

Pauline Parr, who lives in Thornwood , off Mill Road, will have to cross the new road six times a day in January, when her youngest daughter, Rachel, starts school part-time. "I've just watched a lady cross the road, she got half way and the green man went out. People with children will not have time to cross."

Fliss Callely , of Howard's Croft, demonstrated with her daughter, Rhiannon, four. She said: "Having the Northern Approaches splits the community in half. Myland is quite a big parish. I have a son at the Gilberd School and a daughter at Myland. It concerns me crossing the road. There's not time to cross it."

Mr Peel commenting on the protesters said: "They believe they can't get across the road safely - time will tell. They're concerned it isn't a safe crossing.

"I'm sure if it's not a safe crossing we can alter the timing of the lights or put in a lollipop lady. Thousands of people will benefit from this road."

Mr Hall said: "I hope the safety measures will be effective and children can cross safely and the two separate parts can feel unity and togetherness."

Mile End residents have also complained that a ban on cars using Nayland Road – imposed to divert cars down the new road - will affect their local shops and businesses.

The new road, which has a 40mph speed limit, goes from Colchester North Station roundabout to the Boxted Road/Nayland Road junction. The third and final phase of the road, is due too be considered by Colchester Borough Council this summer.

Essex County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation Rodney Bass said: "The new North Station roundabout means traffic going out of the town centre will be able to go straight on the Northern Approach road, leaving traffic that wants to go towards West Bergholt and Mile End Road freer access. The scheme also recognises the need for safe and effective facilities for buses, cyclists and pedestrians, while decreasing traffic in residential areas."

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