A COUNCIL has declared its preferred route for the A12 to A120 widening scheme.

Braintree Council favours Option C which provides three lanes in each direction along the route of the current A12 between Kelvedon and Feering with three lanes being built in each direction to the south of the current A12.

There would be a new junction 24 where the current A12 crosses Inworth Road near Feering.

The current junction 24 at Kelvedon North would be upgraded to serve local roads.

Importantly for Braintree Council, the route would pass to the south of Grade II listed Prested Hall and continue towards the junction at Marks Tey.

It would re-join the current A12 at a new junction to the south west of the current junction 25.

The existing junction would be retained and upgraded to serve the local roads.

Highways England says it is committed to upgrading the whole stretch of the A12 between Chelmsford and Marks Tey.

It previously announced its plan to widen the stretch of A12 to three lanes in 2017 but that was before plans were submitted for the garden community at Marks Tey.

No decision has yet been made on the garden community.

It is believed if no decision is made by the spring, a decision will be made to proceed on the basis of a consultation held in 2017 which envisaged a six lane road running parallel to the existing road.

Braintree Council economic development boss Tom Cunningham said: “The council’s view is in line with the other partners associated with the garden community project – namely North Essex Garden Communities and, in particular, Colchester Council.

“We welcome the opportunity that allows existing A12 infrastructure to remain in place because that will allow a wide discussion into how best to use that to facilitate additional growth in that area.

“All four options provide a better relationship between the A12 and the proposed Colchester/Braintree garden community.

“On balance, it was felt due weighting was needed to be given to the option that preserved Prested Hall in its purest form possible and didn’t result in the dissection of the tree-lined avenue that leads up to the property. For that reason and for many others it was felt option C was the best option.”