PLANS for a £110m project to create a new road between the A120 and the A133 and a rapid transport system for Colchester have moved a step closer.

Essex County Council’s cabinet agreed to press ahead with plans for the link road which will run between the A120 between Colchester and Horsley Cross and the A133 between Essex University and Elmstead Market.

Councillors agreed on the route following a public consultation.

The council has been awarded £99 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund for the scheme.

The road is expected to cost some £70 million, with the rapid transport system - for quick moving public transport - coming in at £40 million.

It is expected to provide infrastructure for the new 9,000 town being planned for between Wivenhoe and Greenstead, which was not thrown out by the planning inspector last week like others at West Tey and West of Braintree.

Julie Young, who represents Wivenhoe on the council, said there had to be infrastructure if a new town was to be built.

“I think this is a really significant paper, given the response from the inspector last week that told us two of the garden communities were not viable mainly because of the transportation costs,” she said.

“It throws us into sharp focus the need for Government funding in order to deliver the Government housing targets.

“We want to build healthy and sustainable communities on an infrastructure-first approach.

“I’m seeking assurances this housing development on the east side will be led by the infrastructure needed and not to follow.”

A rapid transport system - the exact type of which is yet to be specified - will also be part of the project to enable people to move from the new town, to Essex University and then into Colchester.

Councillor Anne Turrell, who represents Mile End and Highwoods, suggested a monorail but council leader David Finch said it was too early to settle on what exactly it would consist of.

“Technology is moving fast. To nail ourselves to a specific process is not the best thing to do,” he said. “We want more efficient transport of people in Colchester and reduce air pollution as well.”

The council will now begin design and planning work.