THE fight for the new bypass goes back to the Nineties...long after a proposed “road to the west” was shelved.

That road would have cut through Old Leigh before winding through Southend seafront, but it faced huge opposition before being kicked into the long grass.

The idea of an outer bypass from the east almost came to fruition, according to politicians who pressed for it at the time.

Sir Teddy Taylor, 79, from Thorpe Bay, was MP for Rochford and Southend East at the time and almost succeeded in making the relief road a reality. Today, he says, it is needed more than ever to bring an end to traffic misery.

He said: “The traffic is getting into a very nasty situation. I think it would make a great difference if we just had traffic that flows smoothly. It was something Southend needed a long time ago.

Shoebury has changed dramatically. It used to be a bit down market but it is now on the way up in a very dramatic way. Shoebury has become a place people want to live. The Garrison is beautiful and I walk there when I can. It would make a great difference if there was a road to help people get out of without going through Southend.”

Sir Teddy added: “It’s something I have been in favour of from the beginning. It would make a huge difference and I am just as in favour of it as I was in the beginning.

“We got very near but it just didn’t happen. I felt it was something that was vital to the community as a whole. Southend is now so busy I think a relief road would make a big difference. I think it will happen.”

Ron Woodley, Independent councillor for Thorpe ward, was also in favour of a bypass.

He said : “One proposal was an inner ring road going round Fossetts over Sutton Road and Warner’s Bridge, then joining Nestuda Way and taking the traffic back on to the A127.

“In the longer term, an outer ring road would take you through to the A12 and then join the A130 but that was reliant on Rochford giving us permission - but their concerns were that it would attract more housing .

“Back in 1997 Teddy Taylor did go to John Prescott about the ring road and he said yes there was the money, but there was no plan by Essex County Council to allow that to happen.

“Most politicians don’t look forward 50 years but by then this area will be a city, either part of London, a London suburb or in its own right and it would include Rochford.

“I think if politicians recognised that we will move quicker.”