Marks Farm (formerly A131 Braintree to Sudbury)
- Capital Investment - Essex, Southend & Thurrock, Less than £2m, LGF1
Expected completion date
A transport package with safety and highways improvements to key junctions along the A131 corridor, together with enhancements to cycling and pedestrian crossing provision.
The purpose of this project is to deliver a package of schemes to improve safety and reduce delays along the A131 corridor from Braintree to the Suffolk border, just south of Sudbury.
The A131 is the primary route from Braintree, through Halstead, to Sudbury. The route covers 13.5 miles (21.6 km), along which there is one roundabout, three mini roundabouts, a signalised junction, two zebra crossings and one signalised pedestrian crossing.
Braintree is undergoing significant growth and there is the potential for exponential growth with the adoption of a new garden community to the west of Braintree. The A131, leaving the north of Braintree, also provides an essential commercial link, via the A1017, on to the A14 and the M11.
Similarly, there are significant growth plans for Sudbury, which, together with developments in Halstead which is halfway between the two destinations, will put increased pressure on the capacity and performance of this corridor.
The project will deliver the following interventions:
- Marks Farm roundabout – widening of all four entry flares, introduction of a left turn slip from the A120 heading south and general improvements to the roundabout;
- Broad Road roundabout – improving entry flare from Broad Road and realignment to improve traffic flow;
- High Garrett junction with A1017 – major improvements to layout, changes to signals, relocated and improved crossings and pedestrian facilities; and
- Plaistow Green and Bulmer Tye – safety improvements, including improved signage and non-slip surfacing.
A project update was considered by Accountability Board on 7th June 2019 in line with the requirement for all high risk projects to be considered by the Board before the end of June 2019.
It was noted that the project was awarded £1.8m of LGF funding by the Board in June 2018, against a total project cost of £3.6m. At the time of the funding award Essex County Council were committed to providing the remaining £1.8m required to facilitate project delivery.
Essex County Council has recently undertaken a comprehensive review of their Capital Programme, with a view to reducing capital spend. As part of this review Essex County Council took the decision to no longer support the project and as a result withdrew their £1.8m match funding.
The withdrawal of the Essex County Council match funding has prompted ongoing discussions regarding both the scope of the project and potential alternative funding sources which may still allow delivery of some elements of the project.
Essex County Council has indicated that their intention is to progress with the Marks Farm roundabout element of the project only, as this is considered to be the most strategically important intervention. Work is ongoing to finalise the funding package and to determine the impact of the reduced project scope on the value for money and benefits offered by the scheme.
The Board agreed that the project should be put on hold whilst these points are clarified, with the LGF funding allocation to the project remaining. This decision was subject to a change request and revised Business Case being brought to the September 2019 Board meeting to confirm that the revised project scope still offers value for money, to clarify the impact on the project outcomes of not delivering the other interventions and to confirm that there is a full funding package in place. Should this condition not be met, the £1.8m LGF funding allocation will be reallocated through the LGF3b project pipeline process.
Capital Programme delivery update
Take a look at our update on the delivery of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Growing Places Fund (GPF) capital programmes.
£570m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock
In total the SELEP Growth Deal with Government has brought £570m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal (2015-2021) we aim to deliver 78,000 jobs and 29,000 homes across the SELEP area, with the Deal set to attract a further £960m of investment into the South East over the six year period.