A CAMPAIGNER who says a new road will be “curtains for the countryside” fears developers are exploring alternative routes to the one agreed with residents.

National Highways is planning an upgrade to the A120 by creating a modern dual carriageway connecting Braintree and the A12.

Essex County Council, which handed the scheme to the Government-owned company in 2020, believes the new road will generate millions for the surrounding economy.

Following a consultation with residents, the authority decided on a route which will run from Galleys Corner at Braintree to the A12 to the south of Kelvedon.

Route D is believed to be the preferred option due to it being the shortest, cheapest, and least unpopular with campaigners.

Echo: Concerns - Rosie Pearson opposes the West Tey plans

However, A120 campaigner Rosie Pearson, is now concerned National Highways may be looking to divert from the original plans.

She says residents living between Braintree and Marks Tey received letters from National Highways last week seeking access to their land to carry out surveys.

This has left those who received the letters alarmed given they do not live on or near the route they initially chose.

Rosie said: "This does not make sense and why would they waste tax-payers' money and cause everyone great concern by starting the process all over again?

“I have spoken to three people at National Highways, who were not even aware that there had been a previous consultation.

“I also spoke to council leader Kevin Bentley and he was not aware of any work being carried out to look at other routes.

“National Highways needs to do its homework because last time round the other routes were hotly contested, so this new is extremely upsetting and worrying.”

The surveys are said to be taking place between now and March 2022 with a view of gathering “up-to-date environmental information to further inform the project.”


But whether National Highways opts for a different approach or not, Rosie says the damage is already done.

Rosie added: “Unfortunately, whichever route is selected, it's curtains for our countryside because developers are chomping at the bit to get their diggers out.”

National Highways bosses have now defended asking residents not living on the preferred route of a new road development if they can survey their land.

It is understood the agency has started re-surveying different A120 route options as part of work to enable it to recommend a preferred option early next year

A spokesman for National Highways say the work being carried out is routine and should not be seen as suspicious in any way. 

He said: “We have been examining the work completed by Essex County Council, which is routine when schemes are passed between agencies. 

“This requires us to obtain up-to-date information on all of the possible routes, which includes environmental surveys, to ensure there are no gaps in the information.

“Once we have completed the assessments, we will present our findings to the Department for Transport to discuss next steps.”

Gabrielle Spray, Braintree councillor responsible for planning and infrastructure at Braintree District Council, has since urged National Highways to get on with the job.

She added: “Both Essex County Council and Braintree Council have invested millions to get these upgrades to the A120 moving.

“So it is important that National Highways presses ahead as soon as possible.”