Evening Echo
February 1, 2002

School 'carrot' idea for an outer bypass

ROCHFORD councillors oppsed to an outer bypass serving Southend could be persuaded to change their minds if they were offered a new secondary school for Great Wakering, it was suggested today.

The suggestion was made by Rochford and Southend East MP Sir Teddy Taylor - as highway bosses proudly opened the long-awaited A130 bypass between Chelmsford and the Rettendon Turnpike.

The northern section of the A130 opened yesterday and it is hoped that the second phase, carrying motorists almost as far south as Benfleet's Sadlers Farm roundabout, will be completed by March 2003 (see P20).

A similar bypass to ease traffic congestion in Southend was originally included in the Essex Structure Plan, but was taken out by the county council in 1996.

The plan was revived in 2000 amid strong pressure for a new road out of town, particularly with the prospect of several hundred extra homes on the former Shoebury Garrison and New Ranges.

However, there have always been major concerns in Rochford over the scheme, which would cut through the district's highly-prized green belt land and undermine its tourist aspirations as a district of quiet country villages.

But Sir Teddy Taylor said today: "Southend Council could offer Rochford District Council assurances that green belt land won't be damaged and offer to co-operate with a deal to build a much-needed secondary school in Great Wakering.

"We need to get the councils working together and I will try very hard to make that happen."

Southend Council leader Charles Latham said: "My opinion is that there are all sorts of discussions that need to take place between Southend and Rochford.

"An outer bypass for Southend would benefit Southend, Rochford and Castle Point and I hope that in the coming months we will be able to enter meaningful discussions with all interested parties."

A new bypass for Southend would cost in the region of £200 million and any parties involved would need to persuade the Government to come up with that cash before anything could take place.

The A130 bypass is the first public road in the country to be built under the Private Finance Initiative whereby the private sector, builds, finances and runs the scheme.

Education offer not enough says councillor

A SENIOR Rochford councillor has dismissed Sir Teddy's suggestion out of hand, claiming the offer of a school wouldn't diffuse local opposition to a bypass.

Peter Webster, conservative member for Whitehouse ward, said: "Personally, I think the school and the bypass are two separate issues.

"The majority of councillors in Rochford, whatever their political party, are opposed to the bypass like I am."

Local people opposed a bypass because of the threat to green belt land, because it would be of only marginal benefit to Rochford and it would be hard to resist more commercial development along a new road. Mr Webster added: "If Sir Teddy offered us a swimming pool it wouldn't make any difference!"

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