£272m funding for new A12 route withdrawn
Major plans to reroute a notoriously busy stretch of the A12 have been thrown into serious doubt after hundreds of millions of pounds of funding were withdrawn.
Essex County Council has confirmed £272m of Government cash will no longer be available for the proposals to move the A12 southwards between junctions 25 at Marks Tey and 23 at Kelvedon.
It was thought the road would need to be diverted to make space for the proposed West Tey garden community.
But a planning inspector says the new settlement – which would have been made up of 24,000 homes – is ‘undeliverable’.
The £272m offered by the Government was only available on the basis the West Tey scheme got the go ahead.
A County Hall spokesman said: “The Government carefully considered the deliverability of the proposed garden community on the Colchester/Braintree border when deciding to announce that our bid had been successful in March.
“The planning inspector came to a different conclusion and Essex County Council will no longer receive the £272m funding.”
The withdrawing of funding has been welcomed by campaigners, with former Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex secretary Rosie Pearson admitting there would be “huge relief” among residents in rural areas.
She said: “The re-routing of the A12 to accommodate thousands more houses was always an unpopular waste of tax-payers’ money.
“Villagers and those living in the area proposed for the re-route can breathe easy again.
“However, what a wasted opportunity this has been to bid for money for infrastructure the area needs rather than to move a road to accommodate a vanity project.”
Highways England held a public consultation on proposals to reroute the A12 last year.
It presented several options which it said would have allowed the road to be extended to three or four lanes in both directions.
A spokesman said: “We have now started to assess our position and options and we aim to announce the preferred route for junction 23 (Kelvedon South) to 25 (Marks Tey) later this year.
“The route we announce will be based on several factors including affordability, environmental impact, journey times, complexity of build, feedback from the public and of course the recent advice by the Planning Inspector on the joint local plan.”