Bernard Jenkin MP.

Mr Bernard Jenkin's views on the Highways Agency's 'Proposed' southern route.

There is no doubt that this dangerous stretch of the A120 has needed upgrading for a long time. A new dual carriageway between Braintree and the A12 south of Marks Tey should reduce journey times substantially and save lives. Many people in North Essex tell me they have been waiting twenty years for this, so I am delighted it is finally going ahead. However, I have reservations about the proposals put forward by the Highways Agency and it is my duty to represent the concerns of people in North Essex .

First, the proposed junction with the A12 is elevated and will be lit. This will be a very visible intrusion on the landscape, particularly at night, and could be the source of significant light pollution. One improvement would be for the new A120 to pass under the railway to join the roundabout beneath the new section of the A12.

Second, access to Tiptree from the A12 has always been problematic and a considerable deterrent for quality investment in Tiptree. Tiptree, (south of the A12) though still technically a “village”, is a settlement of some four and a half thousand houses and eight thousand people. It has its own secondary school, but recently lost a major employer, Tiptree Book Services because of lack of transport links. The new A120 junction would seem to be an opportunity to address access to Tiptree. Under the proposed scheme, this will still be by a tortuous route which would involved driving north of the A12 into Kelvedon before going back under the A12 through Innworth to Tiptree. This is highly unsatisfactory. It may be possible to use a section of the (to be) disused A12 to provide more direct access to the B1023.

Third, the existing A120 is a very dangerous stretch of road which will continue to carry significant volumes of traffic. There may even be an incentive for people travelling from north of Braintree to take the old A120, which is a shorter route to Marks Tey than joining the new A120. The completion of the new A120 should include a programme of engineering works on the old A120 to improve road safety and a 30 mile an hour limit from Little Tey to the existing A12/A120 junction.

I have already written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling, to ask for his response to these concerns. I will continue to press the Government to listen to the representations and legitimate objections of local people and to amend the Highways Agency’s proposals accordingly.

Bernard Jenkin
Conservative Candidate for North Essex.