HAVEN’T we heard it all before? Calls for better roads, schools and health services before new homes are built.

It’s true that homes are being built but the promised improvements to our infrastructure often fail to be materialise.

You can imagine the sense of incredulity among south Essex councils this week as the Government handed out a cash injection of £218million for a new train station in Chelmsford and £99million for a relief road in Colchester.

As south Essex continues to see housebuilding on a huge level, many ask what are our councils doing to press the case for much-needed road, rail, schools and health improvements to keep pace with new development?

Our councils point to plans to upgrade the A127 and a new relief road connecting the A127 and A130 which should be submitted to the Government this year.

Ron Woodley, deputy leader of Southend Council, says MPs need to support councils better in lobbying for more help.

He said: “It’s quite disappointing that our MPs are not helping us to improve our local hospital, and that we need absolutely everything when it comes to infrastructure.

“We’ve been identified as having to build thousands of homes over the next 20 years, and whilst we need them, we need the MPs’ support to get us the infrastructure to go with it.

“The A127 was built in the 1930s, but it hasn’t had the improvements needed over the years.

“Council leader Ian Gilbert is arranging meetings with MPs, we have meetings across councils regularly. Things are happening, but we need great support.”

Basildon, Brentwood, Thurrock, Rochford, Southend, Castle Point councils and Essex County Council work together as part of the Association of South Essex Local Authorities on issues such as infrastructure and growth.

Norman Smith, leader of Castle Point Council, said: “At the moment we are working on putting together a proposal for upgrades to the A127 and for a new relief road to connect it to the A130, as well as upgrades to our railway services.

“In Castle Point, we want to consider a third road leading from Canvey to the rest of the borough, and we want to review all the roads and tributaries that branch around the A127 and A13, as we all know that if there’s one issue anywhere near there, it all grinds to a halt.

“We do want the Government to help us out more, but we can’t just ask them to give us some money.

“We need to put together a plan which shows what we’re able to do, why we want to do it, and how it will help, and then go to them to lobby them.”

Mike Steptoe, leader of Rochford District Council and county councillor, says: “I agree the Government should be doing more. At county council, we have been working on improvements to the A127 economic corridor. That is something that’s starting to happen and I’m confident about.

“It’s essentially the spine of south Essex and anything that affects it along the way will have knock-on effects. The Association of South Essex Local Authorities is talking to the Government with councils in toe, so we are all working together.”