Village needs to be made ‘unattractive’ as a rat run

A village needs to be made ‘unattractive’ as a rat run if it is not going to be severely impacted by increased traffic following A12 widening works.

Chelmsford City Council’s concerns over the impact the plans for the A12 will have on Boreham echo comments heard from a campaigner who worries the road widening scheme could “devastate” the small village.

National Highways said the £1.2bn project to widen 15 miles of the A12 from Chelmsford to the A120 to three lanes will ease congestion in the area.

But the proposed widening would also see junctions 20A and 20B, close to Boreham, closed and replaced by a new junction 21.

Now Chelmsford City Council has revealed its own concerns as part of its statutory response to the plans.

It says the closure of the junction 20A access which currently allows vehicles to travel southbound along the A12 towards junction 19 and Chelmsford is expected to lead to a traffic increase along Main Road (B1137) towards Boreham.

The reason for this is that most traffic would be required to travel north towards the new junction 21 to access the south bound carriageway.

And while most traffic which previously used this route is expected to join the A12 at the new junction 21 some traffic is nonetheless expected to travel southbound along Main Road through Boreham to access the A12 southbound at Junction 19.

This would lead to a traffic increase on the B1137 through Boreham village, particularly within morning rush hour travel times.

Chelmsford Council’s draft Local Impact Report to be presented to councillors on September 29 said: “Chelmsford City Council have previously raised concerns regarding the impact of the proposal on Boreham settlement and the position of new Junction 21 and the nature of the proposals.

“Whilst traffic, noise and air quality modelling indicate that the effect of the development on Boreham is largely acceptable, it does not negate the fact that the proposal would lead to a change in the residential living and working environment of Boreham residents and businesses, who will experience higher levels of congestion and associated noise, disturbance and vibration than they are accustomed to.

“The proposal to implement only Standard Mitigation as suggested within the Environmental Statement, and the introduction of a 30mph speed limit whilst welcomed, is not considered to be enough to manage and mitigate against the above identified effects on Boreham settlement.

“What is required is a package of measures to make the route unattractive as a through route for those seeking to travel southbound from or via Hatfield Peverel and to encourage those road users to use the new Junction 21.

“Any package of measures needs to be agreed with Essex County Council and Highways England including potential speed cameras and other associated works.

“The package of measures is also likely to lead to residual impacts on Boreham which would need to be managed.”

The local conservation group says plans to widen the A12 near Chelmsford will “devastate” the village due to the increase in traffic. Bill Kyle, a member of Boreham Conservation Society, said Boreham will see a 25 to 50 per cent increase in traffic largely due to the closure of junction 20A.

He told a Essex County Council meeting in July: “Is this a fair outcome from such a significant expenditure from the national purse on a local community and what actions are Essex County Council taking to require national highways to reconsider and eliminate this proposed increase which will devastate our village.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter