Letter to Highways Agency 2nd May 2005

Dear Mr Shuker,


I wish to object most strongly to the Proposed Southern Route. I came to Coggeshall to stay with my father in 1949, married my wife in 1951, bought up my children and still live here today When I arrived in 1949, the B1024 where my house is located was a quiet road, unlike today with cars and lorries, plus commuters to and from Kelvedon station.

I would like you to consider the below points:

Safety Considerations

If this new road is built, it will be inaccessible to residents living at Coggeshall, so what was a quiet road outside my house will become a rat-run between Coggeshall and the A12 Junction with the Proposed Southern Route. So, instead of reducing traffic and thereby improving safety for the people in vicinity of the B1024, it will increase traffic along this once quiet country road. I understand that, whilst you have not done a flow forecast for the B1024, the A120 W. of Coggeshall will still have 10,300 Annual Average Daily Traffic by 2012 and 12,400 by 2027, and the A120 E. of Coggeshall will have 9,900 by 2012 and 11,900 by 2027. In addition to this, the new road will bring 17,100 vehicles per day by 2012 through this rural area increasing to 21,700 by 2027. It will not remove the through traffic travelling east west, it will generate even more through traffic!

Environmental Considerations

If this new road is built, it will mean the residents living in vicinity of the B1024 (Grange Hill) will have to put up with the noise and pollution of a new dual carriageway running within half a mile of us as it crosses the B1024. This road will have no benefits for us as we will have no access to this road.

I understand that approximately 1.5km of dual carriageway will go through the Blackwater Valley Special Landscape Area, south of Coggeshall Hamlet. This landscape is of local and county importance by virtue of its designation and protection, yet the Highways Agency is proposing a new structure over the River Blackwater south of Mill Cottages that would require a 100m. total span! This is an act of environmental vandalism.

Coggeshall Hall and Coggeshall Road comprise a complex of Listed Buildings including a pub and the 15th-century Hall. The route would have an adverse effect upon their setting and context through increased noise and visual disturbance. In addition, it is a matter for concern that the proposed route would effectively sever Coggeshall Hall from Coggeshall Hamlet, creating further adverse impacts. The road would then have an adverse impact on the village of Feering which is a conservation area. The Sites and Monuments Record at Essex County Council lists the following showing that this area has an important historic environment, both in terms of its built heritage and its archaeology:

In addition, SMR No. 45481 (Colchester) lists field walking finds from Aldham, Marks Tey and Kelvedon.

8671   Not given   Roman building found by MJ Campen in 1958.    View on Map 
8752   Not given   Circle of Roman roof tile standing on edge, about size of a cart wheel, found in 1958.
   View on Map 
8771   Not given   Cropmarks of linear features, small rectangular (?)enclosure, stretch of curving trackway and recently removed field boundaries; several large rectangular `pits'.
   View on Map 
8784   Not given   A half log with two semi-circular depressions was found in 1977 during sewerage works in the bed of the River Blackwater, 10 ft down.
   View on Map 
8802   Not given   Cropmarks of rectangular enclosure cut by hedge, possible ring ditch just outside (within also?).
   View on Map 
18809   Possible Roman road between Coggeshall and Kelvedon   Possible Roman road between Coggeshall and Kelvedon
   View on Map 
30002   Coggeshall Hall Farmhouse   Late C16 timber framed house.
   View on Map 
30003   Barn 20m NW of Coggeshall Hall Farmhouse   Early C16 or earlier timber framed barn.  
 View on Map 
30028   Old Wills Farmhouse   C14/C15 timber framed house altered in C16 and C20.
   View on Map 
30029   Barn 25m NE of Old Wills Farmhouse   C17 timber framed barn.
   View on Map 
30064   Pound Farmhouse   Late C16 timber framed house with later extensions.
   View on Map 

If this new road is built, it will increase the likelihood of flooding, as the Proposed Southern Route will mean covering flood plains that have protected Coggeshall for thousands of years with concrete. Last time Coggeshall was flooded, it was because floodgates were opened to protect the A12 and flooded Coggeshall instead. Will I have to watch Coggeshall under water again in order to save the new Proposed Southern Route? The Mouchel Route Option Study states: Land take resulting from road construction may reduce the floodplain storage by replacing permeable surfaces with impermeable construction materials. This ultimately may decrease floodplain storage and consequently increase the risk of flash flooding.

If this new road is built, it will mean so much of our countryside will be destroyed, so much of our high quality agricultural land covered with concrete. There will never be any more land - once it has gone, it is gone for ever. Planning policies protect this land from irreversible damage and the loss of more than 20 hectares of Grade 2 agricultural land may be significant in the national interest. The Proposed Southern Route involves a land take of 122.4 hectares overall yet the Coggeshall Bypass option would require the lowest area of land take, with an estimated 55ha of Grade 2 agricultural land being affected. As the Proposed Southern Route requires the greatest Greenfield landtake there would be a loss and severance of numerous habitats. The cumulative impact of agricultural land and hedgerow loss (a diverse hedge that would be crossed runs west from the George and Dragon Public House at Halfway cottages) would create an adverse impact on ecology. Some of this land is under the Countryside Stewardship Agreement. Arable Options in the Countryside Stewardship Scheme were introduced in 2002 and the new Environmental Stewardship Scheme that arable land can be entered into began in March this year. Furthermore, once the Proposed Southern Route is built, housing developments will follow, adding to pollution and yet more congestion.

If this new road is built, it will mean it will be easy to build a spur road to the proposed incinerator and waste management facility at the former Rivenhall Airfield once the gravel extraction has ended, one day dumping municipal and industrial waste, and who knows what else - a time bomb for the future!

I believe if the Proposed Southern Route is built, it will be a disaster not just for the people of Coggeshall, but for the environment, congestion and road safety, and will destroy our country way of life as we know it for ever. The Highways Agency says that the Southern Route offers clear advantages over the other routes. What are these advantages? They are not clear to me!

Yours sincerely,
Mr. C. H. Lambert
Coggeshall Resident