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Housing Infrastructure Fund bids

Latest News - 28 August 2019: Largest ever infrastructure boost for Essex will unlock growth in Colchester and Chelmsford

The leader of Essex County Council, Cllr David Finch, has welcomed a £318 million government infrastructure funding boost which will bring road and rail transport benefits including a new railway station for Chelmsford and a rapid transport system for Colchester.

Two multi-million-pounds projects – covering the North East Bypass and Beaulieu Railway Station in Chelmsford, and the A120/A133 link road and rapid transit system in Colchester and north east Essex, will help ensure growth and improve connectivity across the county, region and beyond.

Both projects were the subject of Housing Infrastructure Funds bids, supported by the County Council and City, Borough and District Councils and local MPs.
Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “We are delighted that the Government has recognised the value of these projects and confirmed we will have much needed investment to support vital infrastructure and unlock housing growth.

“The announcement is truly reflective of just how key road, rail and public transport networks are for Essex’s growth, helping create the conditions for our economy and communities to grow in a sustainable way. We are pleased that Government has recognised this with over half of the £600m HIF money being directed to Essex.
“Chelmsford and Colchester are already great places for people to live and for businesses to thrive and this funding will help grow the attraction of both places for generations to come.

“I would like to thank all those involved in preparing the bids across Essex. This investment today is an excellent demonstration of value for money for the £2m we invested to develop these bids."

The new Beaulieu railway station on the outskirts of Chelmsford will provide access to the Great Eastern Main Line, relieve crowding at Chelmsford station (the country’s busiest 2-platform station) and support the construction of thousands of new homes at Beaulieu Park and the Channels estate.

Combined with the Chelmsford North East Bypass, which will run between the A12 and A131, this will help to relieve traffic congestion on local roads, providing a strategic link between Chelmsford, Braintree, London Stansted Airport and the wider east and southeast of England, including South Essex and the Lower Thames Crossing.
Currently, there is only 4% space left on Chelmsford’s roads during the morning and evening peak periods.

North-east of Colchester, a new rapid transit system will keep the town moving by providing fast access to the centre and the railway stations, helping commuters and taking traffic off the already congested local road network.

A new road linking the A120 and A133 will also unlock land to provide up to 7,500 new homes and will improve connectivity locally and within the wider region.

This infrastructure will enable the network to be more flexible and resilient for new and existing residents, which will help Essex to continue to be an effective gateway to Europe through its ports and airports in the years to come.

The business cases for the successful bids have been uploaded to the documents section of this page. 

Housing Infrastructure Fund bids

Essex County Council has submitted three bids to Government for infrastructure funding to help support housing growth across the county. The council is also supporting Hertfordshire County Council’s Harlow and Gilston Garden Town bid.

Essex’s bids total more than £500 million and cover vital transport infrastructure improvements across the county. You can find out more by viewing our bid summaries below or select the images to open the full document. There is also an overarching document which provides a brief overview.

Chelmsford North East Bypass & Beaulieu Railway Station

The new Beaulieu railway station will provide access to the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML). Trains can pass each other at the new station to make the whole line more reliable. It will relieve crowding at Chelmsford railway station and act as a transport interchange to encourage sustainable travel by bus, cycle, electric vehicles and on foot.

The Chelmsford North East Bypass will run between the A12 and A131, and will complement Highways England’s A12 Junction 19 to 25 improvements. It will relieve congested traffic on the local roads and provide a strategic link between Chelmsford, Braintree, London Stansted Airport and the wider east and southeast of England, including South Essex and the Lower Thames Crossing.

The bypass will enhance access to and increase the catchment area of the station - it is therefore vital that these pieces of infrastructure are delivered at the same time.

What will this do for housing growth?

This infrastructure will maximise the housing and economic opportunity in the area and sustain the continued delivery of hundreds of homes each year. In total the completion of over 10,000 new homes relies on Beaulieu Station and Chelmsford North East bypass opening.

Housing Growth in North Essex – A12 realignment 

The main proposal is to realign the A12 between Kelvedon and Marks Tey. Moving the position of the A12 to the east of its existing alignment would facilitate and realise the growth potential of this part of North Essex.

We plan to complement the realignment with a completely new junction 25 which will provide direct access to the proposed Garden Community, signalising junction 23 at Kelvedon where the A12 meets a new A120 to facilitate traffic flow and widening of the Kelvedon Bypass to four lanes in each direction to accommodate future traffic volumes.

What will this do for housing growth?

To put it simply, fulfilling these proposals will:

  • Create quality environments attractive for existing and new communities
  • Reduce traffic bottlenecks, making journey times shorter and more reliable
  • Provide businesses with reliable journey times
  • Enable new businesses to be set up and thrive
  • Enable the development of much-needed homes proposed in Local Plans

A120 / A133 Link Road and Rapid Transit System

A rapid transit system will prioritise public transport on key routes in Colchester. It will enable housing growth and deliver transformational modal shift, allowing new and existing residents to benefit from frequent, high-quality, reliable transport connecting to the places they want to go. An example is the Belfast Rapid Transit Glider, pictured on the back page.

The system will service the new Park and Ride and help to better connect the planned Garden Community on the borders of Colchester and Tendring with the rest of the town.

Linking the A120 and A133 with a new road will unlock land to provide housing and will improve connectivity locally and within the wider region. It will also serve new park and ride sites and relieve traffic going to the University of Essex and its Knowledge Gateway technology and research park. Both are major employers and key contributors to the UK economy.

What will this do for growth?

The provision of the link road and rapid transit system is essential to meet local housing need. It will unlock the development of up to 7,500 homes and improve connectivity locally and within the wider East of England, future-proofing the capacity of both the A133 and A120.

Harlow and Gilston Town Sustainable Transport Improvements

Enhancing the infrastructure in West Essex will help to enable significant housing growth in the London-Stansted-Cambridge Corridor and allow the region to capitalise on Harlow’s designation as an Enterprise Zone and Garden Town.

What is proposed? 

The proposals will provide a high-quality bus, walking and cycling link from the Eastwick junction in Hertfordshire to Harlow town centre via the railway station, while also providing a second crossing of the River Stort. It therefore includes:

  • Expanding the existing crossing over the River Stort to extend the sustainable transport corridor between the Gilston area, Harlow Town Railway Station and Burnt Mill Roundabout
  • An additional road crossing over the River Stort, linking the A414 at Eastwick with a new roundabout north of the river and then onwards to Edinburgh Way via River Way
  • Improvements to junctions along the A1019 that will enhance their operation, boosting accessibility and attractiveness of the public transport, cycle and walking networks


What will this do for housing growth?

The proposed schemes will remove constraints to development, bringing forward the delivery of homes. The schemes will also facilitate the delivery of new jobs and provide much needed infrastructure for the Garden Town that enables access to and from the new developments.