U's stadium A12 bypass snag

AN MP has called on the Government to supply the funding for a vital junction from the A12 to Colchester United's new Community Stadium. Bob Russell, who represents Colchester, made the move after house-builder Taylor Wimpey withdrew from buying the site of the former Severalls Hospital, throwing the plans for the A12 Northern By-Pass into disarray.

James Hore

AN MP has called on the Government to supply the funding for a vital junction from the A12 to Colchester United's new Community Stadium.

Bob Russell, who represents Colchester, made the move after house-builder Taylor Wimpey withdrew from buying the site of the former Severalls Hospital, throwing the plans for the A12 Northern By-Pass into disarray.

Part of the proceeds from the development were due to fund the multi-million pound junction, which will help ease congestion on match days and improve access to the whole area.

It is now unclear when the junction will be built.

Mr Russell has now written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly, and requested the Government pay for the junction in advance of any development of the Severalls area.

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He said: “Without the junction, the new Community Stadium will be seriously affected by the inadequate road infrastructure.

“Also, with land prices falling and major house-builders not buying big sites, the National Health Service will now not get until much later the many millions of pounds which had been anticipated with the sale of Severalls.”

Special permission was granted to enable the Community Stadium to be built in advance of the new junction from the A12 to the Northern Approach Road.

“It is clearly a setback for Colchester's employment prospects, not to mention the success of the Community Stadium, that the A12 junction will be delayed for years unless the Government agrees to pay for the work upfront.

“That is what I have asked the Secretary of State for Transport,” he said.

Robert Davidson, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that the local MP has joined our concerted campaign to get the junction delivered as soon as possible.

“It is critical to Colchester in that it will reduce congestion with the 2,000 space park and ride and bring quality employment land and higher wages to the borough as well as give access to new housing, rather than traffic coming through the town.

“I have already got the full commitment from Essex County Council and the Haven Gateway Partnership to prioritise the junction.”

He said it was now a “top priority” to get funding from the Government's £200 million community infrastructure fund, saying the junction was vital to help Colchester “continue being a prosperous regional centre.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport, said: “Before the Department for Transport can consider a road scheme it must be prioritised for funding by the East of England region.”