Colchester Rapid Access Project & a link road to ‘unlock’ 7,500 homes

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Initial thoughts about Essex Highways East Colchester consultation

The beleaguered north Essex public is being subjected to ANOTHER ‘garden community’ consultation.  (Purdah?  Shmurdah).  Like the others being held before the ‘section 1’ plan is examined, this one is premature – but the Housing Infrastructure Fund money (£99m) which funds the proposals has to be spent by 2024, to there is a slight element of panic.

This latest one is about two things and we had a quick chat with Peter Kay, of Colchester Bus Users group to ask his thoughts:

A120-A133 link road – the one touted as bringing relief for Colchester’s drivers but actually with the purpose of ‘unlocking’ 7,500 homes in ‘East Colchester’ new town.  The consultation document tells us, breathily, that, “It is estimated businesses will save over £4 million a year for the next 60 years in time savings from reduced delays to employees, goods and services.”  This is hard to believe given that the link road, having one purpose only (set out in the Housing Infrastructure Fund bid which will pay for it, is to build the new town, will generate so much traffic:  6-10 traffic movements today is the figure used by the Department for Transport.

East Colchester bus rapid thingy routes – the one which the authorities keep going on about to make us say yes please to new towns and which the consultation document tells us will ‘enable a a transformational modal shift to public transport.

The authorities still have not got a clue how they will find a route which allows them to segregate the rapid bus from normal traffic and non-rapid buses…which means it will not be rapid.

Bear in mind that the Inspector asked for ‘further work to ‘establish the feasibility and capital cost’ of the rapid transit routes, including ‘alignment outside the GC’s’.   This consultation therefore demonstrates that the authorities still have no idea how to deliver a rapid transit route, yet they have told the Inspector they believe the Plan to be sound!  And on the West Tey side, they haven’t even got this far.  It remains to be seen how he will examine a half-baked plan.

  • ‘Park & Choose’… Yes, that’s the latest buzz-phrase.    Now, remember that the goal is to make you leave your car there and travel into town without it, using one of the different travel choices they give you.    So, what are these choices?    Bike hire, car share or walk…     Need I say more?
  • Link road cuts through the “garden community”. The new link road allegedly follows the boundary of the new town…but the map shows it cutting right through “East Colchester”.   (Note that in ‘West Tey’, NEGC Ltd is so enraged by the thought of a road through its beloved new town that it has bid for £229million to MOVE the A12 – and that’s another consultation that’s going on.  See CAUSE letter to Highways England).   So, it would appear that while it is acceptable for the people of East Colchester new town to breathe polluted air, cross the new road via bridges and suffer the noise of the road, those in West Tey are not to be subjected to this?   The text in the consultation is confusing.  It claims that the route cutting through the site has been rejected, yet two others are equally bad.

The consultation raises lots of questions about route choice for the road.  Has the one skirting the new town been abandoned?    No reasons are given for why it might not be possible.

  • Junction implications. A new proposed A120/A1237 junction needs careful consideration, yet no pros & cons are given.  It will create different traffic problems.   For example, says our expert, Mr Kay, it would reduce the amount of traffic from places north of the junction on the A137   that has to go through Harwich Rd, but cause many from A120 east to go into town centre via Harwich Rd vice Ipswich Rd, counteracting that. Unless CBC abolish all the onstreet parking (not likely!) Harwich Rd is incapable of dealing with more traffic at busy times.

Those who have attended the drop-in events so far say that most questions cannot be answered by staff on attendance.

All the information is set out here, including drop-in events. There’s a main document and several appendices:   Essex highways consultation

Email to send comments to: LinkRoadECMap