Has the A12 upgrade been delayed indefinitely?
PUBLISHED: 17:32 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 18:20 16 May 2019
Delays to the widening of the A12 in Essex have come under fire from MPs in the county - after they were told the plans could be put on hold indefinitely.
Up to 24,000 homes could be built at West Tey at a site near to the A12 and A120, near Marks Tey.
However many believe those homes should not be built until the traffic-logged A12 is upgraded.
And now a fresh war of words has broken out after MPs for the areas were told that the long-planned expansion of the A12 could be delayed indefinitely, until the local plans for the new garden town are finalised.
Witham MP Priti Patel said: "Having campaigned to secure a commitment from the government in 2014 to fund the widening of the A12 between the Boreham Interchange and Marks Tey, I have been left furious by the delays we are now experiencing.
"Businesses and families cannot wait much longer and with every day that this scheme is delayed. Our economy is taking a hit and safety is put at risk."
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Braintree District, Colchester Borough and Essex County councils are working together to fund the additional roads needed to support the new community with a £229million cash injection from the government's Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF).
Colchester MP Will Quince said: "We now have a window of about 12 months to get a local plan confirmed, but even then the work on the A12 may not begin until 2023."
"It is generally accepted that there is going to be some housing on that land but West Tey is massive - it cannot be 24,000 homes."
Colchester Borough Council disputes that it is to responsible for the delays.
A spokesman said: "The responsibility for the future route will rest solely with Highways England and the government through the Department for Transport.
"This has always meant planning for future housing and road improvements together, not in isolation, and taking the necessary time to consider the revised evidence and make the right decision, even if it does take some extra months.
"The government has been very clear that housing and infrastructure is linked - that is why they launched their HIF - as they recognise that much-needed new homes must be supported by the right strategic infrastructure."
Highways England and the developers behind the West Tey homes were approached for comment.