Clashing home games and a circus could bring travel chaos to Northampton this Saturday

The St James Residents' Association fears Saturday could bring traffic gridlock to the town.
The St James Residents' Association fears Saturday could bring traffic gridlock to the town.
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A "perfect storm" of traffic chaos could hit Northampton this weekend as Saints and Cobblers home games clash with a circus and roadworks.

Both sports teams are set to kick off ties at 3pm on Saturday (March 25) after it emerged Oxford United were unwilling to re-schedule their League One match at Sixfields and Saints could not move their clash against Leicester Tigers due to a contractual agreement with BT Sport.

Graham Croucher.

Graham Croucher.

Supporters are being advised to leave early for the fixtures as Uncle Sam's American Circus will also open to punters at 2.30pm in Upton Way.

Meanwhile the "smart corridor" roadworks are set to continue in Weedon Road.

Graham Croucher of the St James Residents' Association believed the town can expect a "perfect storm" of travel chaos.

He said: "Both clubs will be hosting local rivals; the Saints will be hosting Leicester Tigers and the Cobblers will host Oxford United.

"These visitors will bring large numbers of fans to the area and are "big games" and will increase the pressure on the traffic on local roads and parking will be at a premium."

To add to the woes, he said, the circus will take a car park usually used for match-day parking.

But Mr Croucher said that, so far, the local authorities have released slim details of their plans to mitigate the gridlock.

Communications officer for Northampton Town, Gareth Willsher, said: "We did approach Oxford United to ask whether they would be willing to change the kick off to 2pm, but said hey would rather keep it at 3pm, which they are entitled to do.

"As the week goes on we will be issuing advice to out supporters via the website and social media. Please allow extra time and leave early for the game.

"It will be busy, but we want to thank supporters in advance for their patience."

A spokesman for the Saints said: "The Saints’ kick off times are out of our hands once Premiership Rugby and BT Sport decide which fixtures in a particular round are going to be televised live.

"This is the case this weekend, with Saints versus Leicester being the highlight of the round, not least with both clubs battling each other for a place in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals.

"We will be doing all we can over the next few days to try and reduce rugby-related travel delays, including news stories on the website to encourage people to plan their journeys in advance. This will be supported by our regular social media posts."

The Saints is to send an email directly to people who have bought match tickets for Saturday's clash, including season ticket holders.

On the day the Saints will also be running its normal post-match traffic management scheme.

Northamptonshire County Council says it has not been approached to produce a travel plan for the weekend's influx of traffic.