A COUNCILLOR says he is “disappointed” after not being invited to a meeting at which the installation of traffic lights on a troublesome underpass was approved.

On October 18, representatives from Essex County Council, Suffolk County Council, Network Rail and Greater Anglia met with Lawford county councillor Carlo Guglielmi.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss installation plans for traffic lights at a problematic underpass next to Manningtree Railway Station.

The crunch talks were also attended by Conservative candidate for Harwich and North Essex Sir Bernard Jenkin and Conservative candidate for South Suffolk James Cartlidge.

But Alastair McCraw (Independent), Brantham ward district councillor and chairman of Brantham Parish Council, was not invited, which he believes made the process unbalanced.

Mr McCraw said: “I am not being precious about it, but I have doubts about the traffic lights, but I wasn’t invited to the meeting so I didn’t have a chance to say that.

“I am disappointed because this affects Brantham just as much as it does Manningtree, but there was only one person from Suffolk County Council there.

“There was a democratic deficit and it was strange and just ridiculous, it really, really was.”

At the meeting, the new traffic control system, which will cost up to £200,000, was finally approved and work is expected to be completed within the next six months.

It is a short-term solution to a notorious congestion issue which has plagued the A137 for more than 30 years as a result of the narrowness of the underpass.

The previous priority system resulted in slow-moving queues of drivers from both Essex and Suffolk, but Mr McCraw believes traffic lights could cause more tailbacks.

He said: “I only heard about the decision after the meeting, but obviously there is no going back now, and it is going to happen.

“I am sure the traffic lights will make it safer for pedestrians, because it is very narrow, but I wasn’t at the meeting to hear the arguments, so I don’t know.

“My experience with traffic lights is you can get tailbacks very quickly and traffic actually moves faster when drivers move themselves, because they use their common sense.

“I think Brantham as a whole will find this to be a bad decision and I quote from many people, ‘it will be a disaster.’”