Essex

County of Essex highlighted on map of the UK

Three major transport projects in the UK county of Essex could receive £415 million (€472.7 million) of funding, having been shortlisted in the government’s £5 billion (€5.7 billion) Housing and Infrastructure Fund.

Essex County Council bid for money to support plans for a range of road and transport infrastructure improvements to unlock the housing and employment growth potential of key sites.

The three bids are a £250 (€284.7 million) Beaulieu and Chelmsford North East bypass scheme, which includes plans for a new railway station; a £65 million (€74 million) project to build a new road linking the A120 and A133, and undertake preparatory work for a Rapid Transit system linking the university, garden community and central Colchester; and a £100 million (€113.9 million) plan to ensure the proposed A22 improvements can accommodate and allow access to the proposed Garden Communities settlement at Marks Tey, which is subject to further public consultation.

In addition, a collaborative project between Hertfordshire County Council and Essex County Council to develop the Harlow Gilston Garden Town with £175 million (€199.3 million) of funding has been shortlisted.

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said, “Housing is one of the biggest issues the nation faces, and how we provide homes for the next generation is a challenge that we cannot avoid. However, simply building new housing estates is not the answer.

“We must build the right homes, in the right locations, with the right infrastructure, if we are to create real communities and inspire economic growth. Essex is leading the way on housing and today’s announcement is testament to that.”

Better Queensway

Separately, but also in Essex, the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has begun the search for a joint venture development partner to deliver the Better Queensway regeneration scheme.

The 30-year partnership would fund, develop and manage the housing-led regeneration project, which has the potential for approximately 1,300 new homes to be build, including additions to the number of affordable homes currently provided on the Queensway site. It would also reconnect the area with the high street and nearby Southchurch Road, as well as creating new and improved public spaces.

The council requires that four tower blocks be demolished as part of the project, and it has established a number of preferences, including the fact that a sustainable approach should be taken to energy and environmental issues, and it does not want buildings to exceed 12 storeys in height.

Ann Holland, executive councillor for culture, tourism and the economy, said, “This is the largest and most exciting regeneration scheme being undertaken in the borough since the 1960s. It has the potential to completely transform this key town centre site.”

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