AN EXPERIENCED architect has warned drivers will face gridlocked roads if plans to build 1,000 new homes are given the green light.

Tony Higgs made the call ahead of a crucial meeting where councillors will rule on Gallagher Estates' outline application to build a large new estate off Broad Road in Bocking.

Mr Higgs, who spent four decades working as a chartered architect and lives near to the proposed site, has called for a decision on the application to be deferred to allow more time for planning officers to scrutinise the plans.

His specific concerns centre on the access points to the new development, which are planned for the A131 and Broad Road.

Gallagher Estates is aiming to install a T-junction to provide access from Broad Road but Mr Higgs claims this will just cause delays and even miles of queueing traffic going all the way back into Braintree.

"You don't cause a circulation problem by creating a blockage." he said.

"At peak usage times, the currently proposed T junction on Broad Road will prove to be ineffective. It will restrict access, block the northbound carriageway and lead to gridlock at the Bradford Street/ Church Lane junction. The knock-on effect is likely to create a near stationary queue of traffic back to the town centre.

"Is this what we want?"

A survey conducted by the Broad Road Speed Watch Group has found an average of 700 cars pass along Broad Road each hour on weekdays.

This average creeps up to 1,000 cars an hour in mornings and evenings.

Mr Higgs has compiled a report on the traffic concerns in which he suggests installing a roundabout along Broad Road will help with the flow of traffic, and create a natural speeding deterrent.

He has recommended the council commissions a traffic census for the area and says the authority should invite the developer to prepare alternative access road proposals.

The report has been sent to numerous people, including all 49 councillors in the district, and to Braintree MP James Cleverly.

He has so far had no replies.

The report states: "This development has merit. It promises 1,000 new homes, an additional primary school and the prospect of local employment opportunities.

"However, the presently proposed primary access is inappropriate, It is mean, simplistic, constricting and dangerous.

"It is entirely out of scale with the challenge. Under prevailing traffic conditions it is incapable of delivering the necessary volume access required to make the scheme a success.

"It will stop traffic flow and at peak times it will create widespread gridlock. It also introduces significant additional road traffic accident risks."

*Planning officers have recommended councillors approve the application and current access road proposals ahead of next week's meeting.

The meeting takes place on Tuesday at Causeway House, Bocking End, and starts at 7.15pm.