Article by Hannah Brown: Billericay residents are angry at the proposed plans to turn a narrow country road into a ‘major relief road’.
Basildon Council's draft Local Plan includes the proposal to build a new relief route through south west Billericay to help ease congestion and to build 1,700 houses.
The planned route would run between the A129 London Road and the junction of the B1007 Laindon Road and A176 Noak Hill Road, in order to try and reduce congestion at the Sun Corner junction on Billericay High Street. This route would include the narrow Frithwood Lane.
Residents have formed The Frithwood Lane Action Group (FLAG) in order to campaign against the proposals.
They claim that residents are being ‘kept in the dark’ regarding plans for the lanes and say that the council appears to be ‘unable or unwilling to address residents' concerns’.
They say the lane is used extensively by children, dog walkers, horse riders and other residents as access to Frith Wood and Laindon Common.
They argue that the road in parts is too narrow for two cars to pass, meaning that the road would have to be widened, even though there are houses on both sides of the lane.
In a statement FLAG members explained that although they recognise that there are times of day when traffic increases, they believe that the bulk of the congestion is from traffic coming into Billericay, such as commuters parking at the station, shoppers, workers, teachers and children being dropped off at school.
Because of this they claim that the new relief road would only spread the “small proportion of existing traffic and that of the thousands of new residents”, to new congestion points, all still trying to reach the same places as before.
They also said that they have received conflicting information regarding the cost of the road, from £16million to £60million, and argue that there is “no credible evidence” that the road will guarantee better traffic conditions.
On Sunday, October 13, nearly 200 residents from across Billericay came together in the rain to show the strength of feeling against the plans.
Sue Woodland, a resident and member of FLAG, said:
“If the truth about this road is known, then councillors need to start being honest with the residents that elected them. If they don’t know then they surely have a duty to find out and start representing the electorate before voting for a plan they don’t truly understand. To blight this existing community, ruin a quiet lane and create what looks to be a busy, and potentially dangerous junction at Tye Common Road on our doorstep is irresponsible.”
Basildon Borough Council will be meeting to vote on the Local Plan on Thursday, October 18.
Article by Hannah Brown, EssexLive