A £100 million grant could see the A12 re-routed around Marks Tey in a bid to make a controversial new town more accessible.

The plans could also see a new junction created with a re-routed A120 north of Kelvedon.

The Gazette can now reveal the details of the schemes – which have passed the first of two key tests.

In a document outlining the plans, under the heading “A12 Realignment to support Marks Tey Garden Community”, it proposes re-routing the A12 to “allow for greater development area to be included in [the garden community] and reduce severance”.

Rough plans show the new route could see the current A12 break off before junction 25, at Marks Tey, continue through fields before rejoining the carriageway.

The plans also set out a hope for a “new grade separated all movements junction south of the garden community” – the junction which would potentially see the A12 link up with a re-routed A120.

The written bid adds: “The work would directly enable a large area of land for development which would otherwise be severed by the A12.

“Early intervention would provide multiple site access points and enable parcels of residential to come forward sooner than programmed.”

The A12 re-routing would be in addition to plans already in place to widen the road to a continuous three lanes between Colchester and Chelmsford.

Paul Smith, leader of Colchester Council, which is one of four authorities involved in the garden town schemes, said: “Building a new part of the A12 is actually cheaper than widening the existing stretch, that is why this route is being put forward.

“Not only that, there is the potential to open up land for employment.

"For instance, a parcel of the land could be something a distribution company might look at given how well it would be connected.

“There may even be a case for creating a link between Marks Tey railway station and a newly-built transport centre to make sure the garden community is as connected as possible through public transport.”

The plans have sparked shock among residents and has prompted Colchester Council candidate Neil Gilbranch to contact John Spence, head of North Essex Garden Communities, to address residents directly.

In a letter, Mr Gilbranch said: “Many villagers of Copford and Marks Tey are shocked by the recent news releases by the authorities promoting the garden towns and A12 re-routing in advance of the formal consultation process.”

Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and county councillor for Marks Tey and Copford, has called for a renewed public consultation.

He said: “I believe we should learn the lessons from the 1970s, that it is not a good idea to split villages with a main road as we did with Marks Tey.

“I am calling for proper consultation on all routes so people will have the chance to have a strong say on what is going to happen.” and we need this to happen quickly.”

Any decision on re-routing the A12 would have to be taken by Highways England and would be subject to further consultation.