Road protestors step up A120 fight

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to a £220million road running through the heart of the Essex countryside last nightoutlined their objections to the project and unveiled an alternative proposal.

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to a £220million road running through the heart of the Essex countryside last nightoutlined their objections to the project and unveiled an alternative proposal.

The Highways Agency plans to build a new section of A120 which it hopes will improve the links between the north-east of the county and Stansted Airport.

The Government has lauded the dual carriageway as a way to reduce delays and mitigate the impact of traffic on communities but a public meeting heard claims last night the design was "seriously flawed".

Details of the scheme were made public last month February but received a mixed reception, with some happy that the existing, congestion prone, road would be replaced while others were concerned about the proximity of the traffic to their homes.


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Green Party members of Braintree District Council, James Abbott and Philip Hughes, said a lot of people were unhappy the Highways Agency had only put forward one option - the so-called southern route.

Mr Abbott said: "The Highways Agency scheme will create two corridors of traffic on the A120 and the old A120.

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"The agency say all the traffic will use the A120 but on their own figures there will be 12,400 vehicle movements a day still passing through Bradwell on the old road."

He said the proposals were "catastrophic" for wildlife and added the countryside would be "completely transformed".

"The Highways Agency are seeing it from a strategic point of view - we say that should be the second consideration. The primary consideration is what happens here and the and communities that live here."

He added residents in Coggeshall, Bradwell, Marks Tey and east Braintree would still have to use the existing route.

The meeting of about 50 people in Silver End Village Hall, near Witham, was shown details of an alternative proposal from the Green Party which would be along a similar route to the existing road with safety upgrades.

Mr Abbott said their plan would leave just one road corridor running through the area rather than two.

The councillor said, as much as it "pained him" to say it, there should also be a bypass for Bradwell to take traffic around it.

MP for Braintree, Alan Hurst, said: "It is like the Henry Ford option, any colour you want, so long as it is black."

But he said he remained confident something positive could come out of the situation if people voiced their opposition.

The Highways Agency has said it believes the choice of route is "environmentally sound, robust economically and represents a good return for public investment".

Project leader Chris Shuker has said: "The scheme won't go forward until it has the full backing of the region, is accepted by ministers and has statutory approval."

Public consultation on the scheme is set to continue until June, with a public inquiry pencilled in for 2008 should it be required.

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