AN option to re-route the A12 has been included in plans for new garden communities.

In an “issues and options” report for West Tey, where 16,858 homes could be built, it raises the possibility of rerouting of the A12 towards Copford.

Authorities said it is another way of making sure garden communities have the best infrastructure possible.

However, campaigners say further investigations are a bigger waste of money.

A letter from Highways England, submitted to the garden communities’ online consultation, said any proposed route which is different from those already discussed will need to be assessed properly.

It said: “If this is to be pursued, it will result in the A12 scheme being delayed as the route illustrated has had no assessment work undertaken.

“It could also have a significant effect upon the cost of the scheme.”

A Highways England spokesman said the team was in regular contact with the councils to make sure plans will deliver maximum benefit.

However, Rosie Pearson, secretary for the Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex, said too much money was being wasted on assessing the new route.

She said: “This route wasn’t consulted on with Highways England. Why on earth would they use that money to spend moving the road?

“This is just another nail in the coffin to show no one is co-operating. The last thing people want is the authorities’ grand plans for West Tey delaying the A12.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said it was using the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to help pay for the infrastructure.

He added: “The county council was able to put forward bids and these are being assessed by Government.

“As strong advocates of garden communities, bids have been submitted that would help realign the A12 and also enable a A120/A133 link road, helping to facilitate the creation of communities to this scale.”

A Colchester Council spokesman said: “The maps used in the initial concept proposals show an illustration of one possible route.

“The letter from Highways England simply says if a different route is taken to the ones previously consulted on, these will need to go through additional processes and testing.”