A NEW cycle route which would link Halstead to Kelvedon is set to be discussed next week, with the first phase estimated to cost up to £1million.

The proposals would see the cycle route start in Halstead before heading to Earls Colne, Coggeshall and Kelvedon.

It is hoped the plans will create a safe route for cyclists between neighbouring towns and villages, while encouraging cycling in the area.

The Braintree Council local highways panel (LHP) will discuss the plans at a meeting on September 30.

Halstead councillor Chris Siddall, who is chairman of the panel, says the next step would be to complete a feasibility study.

The study would cost around £50,000 to £90,000 and would survey the planned route to check if building the cycle path would be possible.

It is expected the feasibility report will be completed by early next year.

After this, detailed costing of the project would take place where the panel will decide if they want to use the LHP funds or if the scheme will need to find funding from elsewhere.

Current ballpark estimates for the first phase of the route, from Earls Colne to Coggeshall, are between £500,000 and £1million.

The cost would depend on numerous factors including the type of surface.

The Earls Colne to Coggeshall phase is the most likely to be finished first.

This is due to two landowners offering the council the chance to use their land.

The proposal involves sections of the existing roads in Earls Colne, Hayhouse Road and New House Road being designated “quiet lanes.”

New sections of cycle path would be built linking land on Earls Colne Business Park to the Markshall Estate

Some of the old World War Two airfield roads would then link to a second new cycle path which would run through Markshall and on to Marks Hall Road.

The final stretch would then link up Marks Hall Road with Tilkey Road via the pedestrian underpass beneath the A120 Coggehall bypass.

The route is a key priority for Essex County Council and Braintree Council because it reduces people's reliance on cars as well cutting down on congestion and pollution.

Mr Siddall invited County Hall deputy highways boss Sue Lissimore to cycle the proposed route.

He said: ”Safe cycle ways and pedestrian routes separate cyclists from traffic and provide a real alternative for people having to use their cars.”

It comes after Essex County Council release the results of its Active Travel Consultation.

They say Essex residents back the council's aims to promote safer, greener and healthier travel.

Overall, the council says 66 per cent of the 2,482 people asked would support a move to see more space for cycling.

Sustainable transport boss Lee Scott said: “It is clear there is widespread support for the aims expressed in our Safer, Greener, Healthier transport agenda with particular concern expressed about congestion and air pollution across the county."