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Representation 2776 on Preferred Options Local Plan by Highways England (Mark Norman)

Support / Object: COMMENT
Document Link: Preferred Options Local Plan - Central Colchester: Town Centre, TC3: Town Centre Allocations
Representation: Regarding the sites you have suggested, we have the following comments: unlikely to have a severe impact on the A12 or the A120.

Original submission

COLCHESTER LOCAL PLAN
1. Thank you for consulting us on your local plan on the 6 July 2016. We welcome the opportunity to input to your plan.
1.1. As you are aware, Highways England is responsible for maintaining and operating the strategic road network (SRN), which within Colchester's administrative area, is the A12 and the A120.
1.2. Both of these routes are under increasing pressure from traffic growth. This is recognised within your plan and we welcome the fact that improvements to public transport and sustainability of transport systems features highly in your plan, which will go some way to addressing the pressure in the short term.
1.3. It was announced in the Roads Investment Strategy (RIS), published in December 2014, that the A12 between J19 (Chelmsford) and J25 (Marks Tey) would be widened to three lanes by 2020 and electronic signs and CCTV installed on the A12 between the M25 and Ipswich, as noted in your plan.
1.4. In order to deliver this growth, in partnership with Essex County Council (ECC), we will seek to progress improvements to the strategic road network.
1.5. The key strategic projects include:-
1.5.1. A120 Braintree to Marks Tey; long term (dualling); being led by ECC to determine options for a new A120 route between Braintree and the A12.
1.5.2. A12 widening between M25 and J25 of the A12. In addition, ECC is undertaking highway modelling of the effect of three Local Plans; Braintree, Colchester and Tendring, including a 'Rapid Transit Study' for East Colchester/West Tendring.
1.5.3. The A12/A120 route based strategy was published separately by the Highways Agency in March 2013 and revised strategies are being prepared for delivery post 2020.
1.5.4. Supporting the case for improved rail connections.
1.5.5. We welcome reference in your policy for the need to agree 'all' access points from the development sites with ECC, and where appropriate Highways England as the highway authority. This will be undertaken through discussion with respective developers through the planning application process.
Highway Modelling
2. The growth identified in the Draft Local Plan, and in neighbouring Local Plans, will need to be supported by appropriate transport infrastructure. Highways England has been working closely with Essex County Council and the Districts to consider the impacts of this growth, and appropriate means to mitigate its impact, where possible.
2.1. In order to inform the selection of a 'preferred strategy', ECC/Ringway Jacobs were commissioned by Colchester to undertake highway modelling to inform the emerging spatial strategy and its implications. The Colchester Local Plan - 'Options Assessment' described the likely impact on the transport network of the development options identified by the District. This identified preliminary feasible and affordable improvements, with the potential for changing trip patterns and modal choice and review ongoing strategic studies/projects. It is clear that mitigation is not feasible at all key junctions to enable them to operate 'within capacity' at 2033. Increased focus will need to be placed on encouraging modal shift as most journey to work trips are by car.
2.2. It is recommended to improve access to rail stations by sustainable modes, given the high level of trips between settlements with rail links. Increased emphasis will need to be placed on increasing levels of public transport provision and walking and cycling in order to reduce car trips.
2.3. It is understood additional modelling will be undertaken by ECC to support the Pre-Submission Local Plan and will seek to address the issues raised in the above reports.
Strategic Highway Projects
3. It is clear that additional growth will impact on the strategic road network, which is currently subject to a number of ongoing strategic studies/projects aimed at improving the existing transport network and alleviating known congestion issues in the Colchester District. These projects could result in a significant redistribution and a reduction within the District in the plan period.
3.1. Strategic projects being progressed include:
3.1.1. A12 widening between M25 and A14: Highways England is currently investigating widening the A12 to 3 lanes in each direction between J19 and J25. This section between Chelmsford and Marks Tey has been identified in the RIS 1 document to be delivered first, with construction outlined to start by the end of 2020. Public consultation is expected spring 2017. Widening of the remainder of the route is expected to be included in RIS 2 which will run from 2020 to 2025.
3.1.2. A120 Braintree to Marks Tey; long term (dualling): This is being led by ECC to determine options for a new A120 route between Braintree and the A12. Public consultation is likely to take place between January and March 2017.
4. Moving forward, ECC/HE will recommend its preferred route to the Government in the summer of 2017 for inclusion in RIS 2. Increasing the capacity of the A120 has the potential to reduce traffic on local roads within Braintree and improve the wider strategic road network.
4.1. As highway authorities, Highways England and Essex County Council are actively advancing these studies/projects, so that they are included in national strategies and plans, in order that necessary funding can be secured and the schemes delivered.
4.2. Moving forward, close partnership working will be undertaken with Colchester, Highways England, Essex County Council and other local authorities to progress the above projects to improve roads, public transport, and promote walking and cycling. All parties will continue to lobby Government, including DfT, to include these schemes in future programmes to secure necessary funding where possible.
5. At the Maldon local plan inquiry, concerns related largely to long term concerns about the impact of growth across the region and not specifically the Maldon Local Plan. Upgrades to the A12 (identified in RIS 1 2014) regarding the potential widening to 3 lanes of the A12, would improve its reliability and ensure a limited level of queuing at the Kelvedon north junction. In addition, a combination of the public transport improvements proposed to support the Maldon District Council (MDC) Local Plan through its site allocations would provide some short term relief. More significant mitigation options are limited, given minimal land availability between development and roadway; the character of the locality and proximity to the A12 slip lanes, reducing the opportunity for increased signal timings. The transport modelling work undertaken to date for the Colchester Local Plan supports the findings from the Maldon Local Plan work.
6. It will be essential that a step change in people travelling by sustainable means in the district occurs over the plan period although there are a number of policies and incentives in the new Local Plan should also consider the following: -
6.1. Implementation of car sharing schemes (either development or area based).
6.2. Creation of car clubs.
6.3. Inclusion of public transport vouchers or discounts schemes (in conjunction with any new bus services/routes).
6.4. Creation of additional cycle/pedestrian paths linking new developments with key locations and community facilities, as well as connections between existing developments.
6.5. Shuttle bus services for employment travel (a possible alternative for residents living and working within the borough).
7. Turning to the sites you have suggested, we have the following comments:-
7.1. Central Colchester: Unlikely to have a severe impact on the A12 or A120.
7.2. North Colchester: This could have a severe impact on the A12 and A120. We would wish to see a traffic impact assessment demonstrating the potential impacts of such a proposal. Of particular concern are; J25, J26, J27, J28 and J29. There may also be impacts on the main line of the A12. However, although these need to be quantified, this section of the A12 is subject to a study for potential widening (as discussed above).
7.3. West Colchester: This could have a severe impact on the A12 and A120. We would wish to see a traffic impact assessment demonstrating the potential impacts of such a proposal. Of particular concern are; J25, J26, J27, J28 and J29. There may also be impacts on the main line of the A12.
However, although these need to be quantified, this section of the A12 is subject to a study for potential widening (as discussed above).
7.4. Abberton and Langenhoe: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.5. Aldham: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.6. Birch: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.7. Boxted: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.8. Chappel and Wakes Colne: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.9. Copford: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.10. Dedham: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.11. Easthorpe: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.12. Eight Ash Green: Development here could have an adverse impact on the A12 J26. There is a large amount of development already permitted, which will load on to the junction which already suffers from peak time congestion.
7.12.1. Investigations are being undertaken in partnership with ECC to solve the existing congestion problems and allow some future growth, but this could be difficult and expensive to deliver. This has not been helped by Highways England's requested development mitigation, which has not, for various reasons been possible to deliver.
7.12.2. Jointly we need to ensure contributions from new developments compliment mitigation measures already identified by committed development, thus enabling improvements to the junction, needed to support growth.
7.13. Fingringhoe: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.14. Great Horkesley: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.15. Great Tey: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.16. Great Wigborough: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.17. Langham: Development here could have an adverse impact on the substandard junctions along this section of the A12.
7.18. Layer Breton: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact upon the SRN
7.19. Layer de la Haye: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.20. Little Horkesley: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.21. Marks Tey: Development here has the potential to have a severe impact on the SRN. From the plan, it is unclear were access will be obtained from. There are also proposals as discussed above, to widen both the A120 and A12 which may affect this site.
7.22. Mersea Island: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.23. Mount Bures: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.24. Peldon: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.25. Rowhedge: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.26. Salcott cum Virly: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.27. Symthes Green: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.28. Tiptree: There are long standing access problems to the A12 at this location. These should be looked at before these sites are allocated. A possible solution may be an all movement junction to the north of Kelvedon. This could have an affect on traffic movements over a large area, which would need to be carefully assessed before any firm conclusions could be drawn. Consideration would also need to be taken of the A12 and A120 widening proposals.
7.29. West Bergholt: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.30. Wormingford: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.
7.31. Wormingford Airfield: Development on the scale proposed here is unlikely to have a severe impact on the SRN.


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