Supporters of a Halstead bypass have suffered a fresh setback after it was revealed the suggested route may be “out of date”.

A report published by Halstead Town Council states there are fears the suggested bypass location first put forward in the late 1980s is no longer suitable due to the number of new homes being built in the town.

The issue was discussed during a meeting involving town councillors and representatives from Essex County Council, who revealed a new study would be needed to determine a new route for the bypass.

In a further setback for bypass campaigners, it was revealed County Hall would not fund a new study and would instead seek advice from town councillors.

The suggested route for the bypass would see a new road run to the east of Halstead, starting at the new Oak Road development, through to Colchester Road near Bluebridge Industrial Estate, and back round to the A131, just north of Halstead Cricket Club.

Even if a new route could be agreed at this stage, a bypass is still viewed as a “long-term project” by Highways bosses.

The council report, which will be discussed at a meeting on Monday, adds: “Any proposal would need to be justified by the economic benefits that the investment would bring, but would also need to satisfy central government criteria.

“There are currently many demands upon funding in Essex and a bypass around Halstead is not currently considered a high enough project at this stage.

“The current route for a bypass was created around 30 years ago and may be out of date, bearing in mind the range of new developments in and around the town.

“Although Essex County Council would not be prepared to fund a new study at this stage they do welcome any local knowledge or comments from Halstead Town Council about the suitability or not of the current route.”

Calls for a bypass have increased due to the growing levels of traffic passing through the town. Particular concerns have been raised about the narrowness of Head Street, which is seen as a pinch point when large vehicles are travelling along it.

Essex Highways has confirmed a bypass is “not a priority” at present and it will instead look for other alternatives to help ease traffic in the town. A spokesman added: “We appreciate the traffic issues in Halstead and met with the town council to review different ideas to alleviate congestion. These included studying if improvements could be made to the strategic lorry route, if street signs could be made clearer and if restrictions on the weight and size of vehicles would help.

“A number of actions were agreed by both authorities and we will report back in due course as whether any of these potential solutions could improve town traffic flow.”