A project to improve the lighting, car parking and general feel of the area around Spa Road shops in Witham has started on site this week.
Better lighting, a more attractive courtyard and a reworking of the existing car park layout to include more spaces and accessible parking was granted planning permission last year.
The £300,000 project is being funded by Braintree District Council, Greenfields Community Housing and section 106 money*. The project also has the support of Witham Town Council.
With the scale of the work there will be some disruption to local shops, homes and schools but Braintree District Council is working with them to make sure they are aware of any access issues during the work.
Work will start with clearing the area of trees and vegetation (as set out in the planning permission) before moving on to the lighting, car park and highway improvements which should be ready by November. The landscaping work will be completed by the end of the year.
The project has been carried out with the help of residents and businesses during an extensive consultation period which started when they were asked what improvements they would like to see. The public’s feedback strongly influenced the design plan which was put back out to consultation to find out which design proposals were supported. The plans were then approved at Braintree District Council’s planning committee in August 2017.
Councillor Wendy Schmitt, Cabinet Member for Environment and Place, said: “This area deserves some love and attention and I hope it will make a difference to residents, shoppers and parents picking up children from school. This work will make the area more accessible and will make it look better. It is inevitable that there will be some disruption while the works are ongoing but in the long term it will be worthwhile. I am keen for the new layout to attract more passing trade to the businesses here thanks to its location on one of the busy gateways into Witham.”
Diane Foley, Head of Neighbourhoods at Greenfields, said: “We want our residents to feel pride in where they live, and for local facilities to bring people together and help to improve lives. I am looking forward to seeing the results of this project and the difference it will make to the community.”
Click on the following link to find out more about the project: www.braintree.gov.uk/sparoadshops
Click on the following link to find out about funding opportunities with Greenfields: Funding opportunities
*Section 106 is a legal agreement between the Local Planning Authority and applicant / developers that aim to balance the extra pressure created by new development with improvements to ensure that new developments makes a positive contribution to the local area and community.