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Infrastructure and Connectivity
6.1 A coordinated and integrated approach to infrastructure
planning and delivery is required to implement the vision for
North Essex. Provision of appropriate and timely
infrastructure to support growth will be central to the
area's continuing prosperity, attractiveness and
sustainability. Plan-led growth that includes proposed large
scale garden community infrastructure with a particular focus
will be on transport, education, healthcare, and
telecommunications (including broadband). The Infrastructure
Delivery Plan (IDP) provides more detail about the phasing
and costing of infrastructure requirements.
6.2 North Essex is well placed in the context of connections
by road, rail, air and sea to the wider region and beyond,
and these connections will need to be strengthened as part of
developing sustainable transport networks. The A12 and A120
trunk road network form part of the Trans-European Network
carrying international vehicular traffic. The Great Eastern
Main Line (GEML) and branch lines, link the major towns and
cities via a high capacity, high frequency rail line
radiating from London. The strategically important London
Stansted Airport lies to the west within a 60km radius of key
urban centres in North Essex. Access via sea is provided by
the port at Harwich.
6.3 The challenge is to provide North Essex with a
sustainable transport system that provides good access to
jobs and services, to support economic growth. Growth
promoted through the new Local Plans, particularly via large
scale new developments where delivery will extend beyond the
plan period, provides an opportunity to prioritise,
facilitate and deliver larger scale transport infrastructure
projects that can significantly improve connectivity across
and within the area, and positively alter travel patterns and
behaviour to reduce reliance on the private car.
6.4 The Local Plans seek to improve transport infrastructure
and ensure that new development is accessible by sustainable
forms of transport. Measures designed to encourage people to
make other sustainable travel choices such as better public
transport provision, car clubs, electric vehicle charging
points and provision of cycle links and walk ways will also
be required to achieve such a change. It will also help to
enhance air quality and improve health and well-being.
6.5 Braintree, Colchester and Tendring will continue to work
closely with government departments, Highways England, Essex
County Council, Network Rail, rail operators and other
partners to better integrate all forms of transport and
improve roads and public transport and to promote cycling and
walking. Key projects during the plan period will see
improvements to the A12, A120, Great Eastern Main Line
including rail services, and provision of rapid transit
connections in and around urban areas and the Garden
Communities. An integrated and sustainable transport system
will be delivered that supports economic growth and helps
deliver the best quality of life. Although the funding
for some of these improvements is not guaranteed the
authorities will work with providers to ensure that
investment will be made at the appropriate time to support
the proposed growth.
The inter-urban road network
6.6 On the inter-urban road network, traffic levels have
increased significantly in recent years with parts of the A12
around Colchester and Marks Tey carrying up to 90,000
vehicles per day, which is high for an A class trunk road.
6.7 Most of the inter-urban road network, particularly the
capacity of the A12, is constrained by the operation of the
junctions and sub-standard slips, and periods of congestion.
The East of England Route Based Strategy (March 2017)
provides a review of the state of the network in the East of
England (including A120 Harwich to the A12 and A12 from the
M25 to A14), and will inform a Strategic Road Network Initial
Report (late 2017), which will outline the ambitions for the
network across 2020 – 2025 (ie RIS2 period) and beyond.
Consultation on plans to improve both the A12 and A120 has
taken place, and the decisions made on these proposals should
be informed by the planned growth, identified in Local Plans
given the connection between new planned growth and the
infrastructure needed to support it.
6.8 The A12 is set to have major improvements as part of the
Government's Roads Investment Strategy (2015-2020) (RIS),
with the aim of improving capacity and relieving congestion.
The plans were announced in December 2014 and will represent
the largest investment in road infrastructure received by
Essex. The RIS confirmed
investment in a technology package for the length of the
A12 from the M25 to the junction with the A14;
phased improvement of the road to a consistent dual 3
lane standard; and
improvement to the A12/M25 junction.
Consultation on route improvement options between 19 and
junction 25 of the A12 concluded in March 2017. A decision by
the Planning Inspectorate on the preferred improvement option
is expected in
6.9 The A120 is a key east-west corridor across Essex
providing access to London Stansted Airport in the west to
the Harwich ports in the east and serving the economies of
Braintree, Colchester and Tendring, with links to Chelmsford
via the A130. Upgrading the strategically important road
will unlock greater economic potential for not
only North Essex, but also the county and wider South East.
It will provide tangible benefits to road users, businesses
and local neighbourhoods.
6.10 Consultation on A120 route improvement options between
Braintree & the A12 ended in March 2017 and ECC will make
a recommendation for a preferred option to the Secretary of
State for Transport and Highways England in Autumn 2017. ECC
will recommend the preferred route to Government for
inclusion in the next RIS, which will run from 2020 to 2025.
In addition a series of short term interventions will be
delivered along the route to improve safety and relieve
congestion. The final alignment may influence the final
boundaries and scale of the proposed Garden Community on the
Colchester Braintree border. The A120 from the A12 to Harwich
is subject to a Highways England Route Based Strategy and
improvements to this section of road are expected over the
Essex County Council Route-Based Strategies
6.11 Route-based strategies are prepared and delivered by the
County Council for strategic road corridors, in consultation
with local authorities. The following strategies relevant to
North Essex are currently being prepared for delivery post
2018/19: A131 - Chelmsford to Braintree; A131 Braintree to
Sudbury; Colchester to Manningtree and A133 Colchester to
Clacton. The key objective is to identify options that will
support economic growth.
6.12 The Great Eastern Main Line (GEML) runs between London
Liverpool Street and Norwich and carries a mixture of
intercity services and commuter services serving the major
urban settlements; and freight from the Haven Ports (Harwich
and Felixstowe). Further branch lines provide connections to
Braintree, Sudbury, Harwich, Clacton and Walton.
6.13 The Anglia Route Study prepared by Network Rail (March
2016) shows that while capacity varies along the line,
capacity to accommodate growth is limited and is particularly
constrained in peak times from Chelmsford to London.
Improvements are required along the line to accommodate
growth and provide a faster more competitive service across
6.14 The Study identifies a package of improvements necessary
to respond to the need for increased capacity, which are seen
as priorities to enable growth, improve services and journey
6.15 A new franchise has been awarded to Greater Anglia for
passenger services in the region. New services will be
provided commencing 2018 and the entire fleet of trains will
be replaced and in service by 2020 adding capacity.
Bus, walking and cycling
6.16 Alternative forms of transport to the private car
(walking, cycling and public transport) to travel to work and
other trips are essential in managing congestion and to
accommodate sustainable growth. The levels of growth proposed
in the Local Plans will require that the consequent need to
travel is managed. Travel planning and smarter choices
initiatives will be promoted to ensure that all residents
have good access to local jobs, services and facilities,
preferably by either walking or cycling. For longer trips and
in rural areas where there are fewer local services and
employment opportunities, public transport will be promoted.
By promoting travel by sustainable modes there are wider
benefits to local people such as improved health and air
6.17 Within the urban areas, bus networks are available
although currently underutilised. Essex County Council will
address this through a new passenger transport strategy that
places emphasis on improving sustainable travel modes, i.e.
creating viable public transport routes that operate smoothly
and potentially have priority over private car travel, thus
making public transport a more appealing method of travel.
6.18 Through implementation of the Essex Cycling Strategy
(2016), Cycling Action Plans will be prepared to increase
cycle levels; identify safety issues; identify gaps on key
routes; identify ways of closing gaps; and create better
cycle connectivity to key employment areas, development zones
and schools. The provision of continuous cycle routes and a
coherent cycle network will encourage people to make short
trips by bicycle rather than by car.
Achieving Sustainable Transport
6.19 Creating development that is accessible by different
modes of transport, especially walking and cycling and the
use of public transport is essential to promoting sustainable
development as it reduces car dependency. An important policy
tool to achieve this is a people orientated transport
hierarchy i.e. prioritising walking and providing access for
people with mobility impairment; cycling; public transport;
cars (for occupiers on site and visitors); powered two
wheelers; and commercial vehicles). The modal hierarchy will
be used to ensure that if not all modes can be satisfactorily
accommodated, those towards the top of the hierarchy are
considered first and given greater priority.
6.20 Sustainable transport management will be based on
promoting modes which minimise environmental impact and
promote social inclusion. It is important that developments
are well located in relation to existing walking, cycling and
public transport networks, and where appropriate provide
enhanced facilities, as this will ensure that there is the
maximum potential to use these modes as attractive
alternatives to cars.
Sustainable travel & major new developments
6.21 Proposals for major new development set out in this plan
provide an opportunity to create a step change in
establishing sustainable travel modes, particularly in the
case of the proposed new garden communities. Management of
travel demand will occur through providing retailing, jobs,
services and facilities within the new communities to help
reduce the need to travel, and the communities will be
integrated and connected with the rest of North Essex and
beyond through excellent public transport links providing a
step change in sustainable travel patterns and will also
reduce any adverse impact they might have on the highway
network. Provision for car travel will include an emphasis on
the use of new technology such as electric and ultra-low
emission vehicles. Strategies for car usage will include car
sharing, car clubs and appropriate car parking strategies.
6.22 To maximise the use of public transport new forms of
high quality rapid transit networks will be provided to
connect the proposed garden communities to existing urban
centres such as Colchester and Braintree; key destinations
such as the University of Essex; and key transport
interchanges in North Essex. To achieve the desired step
change in sustainable transport this infrastructure will be
identified in subsequent development plan documents and need
to be funded and provided early in the development phase.
6.23 The challenge in the Garden Communities will be to
create a community in which people move in around in a
different way to which most of the existing towns in North
Essex currently do. Networks need to give priority to people
for short everyday trips to link people to work, education,
retail, leisure, creating an independent safe environment.
6.24 The new garden communities will seek to manage travel
demand, providing retailing, jobs, services and facilities
within the site to help reduce the need to travel, and
integrate and connect with the rest of North Essex and beyond
through public transport to promote sustainable travel
patterns and reduce adverse impacts on the highway network.
The North Essex Garden Communities Charter seeks to ensure
that land use planning of the new communities maximises the
provision and use of sustainable transport internally and
connects externally to key urban centres.
6.25 To maximise the use of public transport new forms of
high quality rapid transit networks will be provided to serve
existing urban centres such as Colchester and Braintree; key
destinations such as the University of Essex; and key
transport interchanges in North Essex. To achieve the desired
step change in sustainable transport this infrastructure will
need to be funded and provided early in the development
6.26 Consistent with healthy living, safe, attractive and
convenient walking and cycling routes will maximise active
mode choice. Connectivity will be improved across barriers
such as rail lines and major roads to bring together
communities Provision for car travel will include an emphasis
on the use of new technology such as electric and ultra-low
emission vehicles. Strategies for car usage will include car
sharing, car clubs and appropriate car parking strategies.
6.27 New development must provide for the educational needs
of new communities and this is set out in more detail within
the Infrastructure Delivery Plan. This will involve the
expansion of existing schools where feasible and the
construction of new schools, together with provision for
special educational needs, early years and childcare places.
Education requirements will need to be based on a strong
understanding of future pupil numbers, with co-operation
between county, district and borough councils. A range of
educational opportunities will need to be addressed as part
of a sustainable growth strategy, including practical
vocational training, apprenticeships, and further and higher
6.28 The authorities will need to work with the NHS, Public
Health and local health partnerships to ensure adequate
provision and range of healthcare facilities to support new
and growing communities and this is set out in more detail
within the Infrastructure Delivery Plan. This will be
particularly important given the ageing profile of existing
and future residents. There is already a need for more and
better quality health care facilities across North Essex with
some areas having relatively poor access to health care
facilities. Health objectives will also be delivered through
providing safe, attractive and convenient routes for walking
and cycling, and maximising participation in active modes of
travel. Support will be given to to meet cross-boundary need
for hospice facilities.
6.29 The NPPF indicates how high quality communications
infrastructure is crucial for sustainable growth. The
availability of high speed and reliable broadband,
particularly in rural areas, is a key factor in unlocking new
development opportunities and ensuring that people can access
services online and work from home.
6.30 Fast broadband connections and telecommunications are an
increasingly important requirement to serve all development.
New development should contribute to the creation of a
comprehensive and effective network in both urban and rural
areas to promote economic competitiveness and to reduce the
need to travel. The priority is to secure the earliest
availability for universal broadband coverage and fastest
connection speeds for all existing and new developments.
Developers are encouraged to engage with broadband providers.
Where provision is possible broadband must be installed on an
open access basis and which will need to be directly accessed
from the nearest British Telecom exchange and threaded
through resistant tubing to enable easy access to the fibre
optic cable for future repair, replacement or upgrading.
Development must be supported by provision of
infrastructure, services and facilities that are identified
to serve the needs arising from new development.
The following are strategic priorities for infrastructure
provision or improvements within the strategic area:
New and improved infrastructure required to support
economic growth, strategic and site-specific priorities
outlined in the second part of each Local Plan
Substantially improved connectivity by promoting more
sustainable travel patterns, introducing urban transport
packages to increase transport choice, providing better
public transport infrastructure and services, and enhanced
inter‐urban transport corridors
Increased rail capacity, reliability and punctuality;
and reduced overall journey times by rail
Support changes in travel behaviour by applying the
modal hierarchy and increasing opportunities for
sustainable modes of transport that can compete effectively
with private vehicles
Prioritise public transport, particularly in the urban
areas, including new and innovative ways of providing
public transport including;
high quality rapid public transit networks and
connections, in and around urban areas with links to
the new Garden Communities
maximising the use of the local rail network to
serve existing communities and locations for
a bus network that is high quality, reliable,
simple to use, integrated with other modes and offers
flexibility to serve areas of new demand
promoting wider use of community transport schemes
Improved road infrastructure and strategic highway
connections to reduce congestion and provide more reliable
journey times along the A12, A120, and A133 to improve
access to markets and suppliers for business, widen
employment opportunities and support growth
Improved junctions on the A12 and other main roads to
reduce congestion and address safety
A dualled A120 between the A12 and Braintree
A comprehensive network of segregated walking and
cycling routes linking key centres of activity contributing
to an attractive, safe, legible and prioritised
Develop innovative strategies for the management of
private car use and parking including support for electric
car charging points.
Provide sufficient school places in the form of
expanded or new primary and secondary schools together with
early years and childcare facilities, with larger
developments setting aside land and/or contributing to the
cost of delivering land for new schools where required
Facilitate and support provision of practical
vocational training, apprenticeships, and further and
Ensure that essential healthcare infrastructure is
provided as part of new developments of appropriate scale
in the form of expanded or new healthcare facilities
including primary and acute care; pharmacies; dental
surgeries; opticians, supporting community services
including hospices, treatment and counselling centres.
Require new development to maximise its positive
contribution in creating healthy communities and minimise
its negative health impacts, both in avoidance and
mitigation, as far as is practicable.
Roll-out of superfast broadband across North Essex to
secure the earliest availability for universal broadband
coverage and fastest connection speeds for all existing and
new developments (residential and non-residential), where
all new properties allow for the provision for superfast
broadband in order to allow connection to that network as
and when it is made available.
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