Congesting-busting bypass could have disastrous consequences for Northampton's picturesque valley, say campaigners

Picture by Sharon Hakesley, who keeps her two horses, Pirate and Boe, in Chapel Brampton on land that will likely form part of the Northern Orbital route.
Picture by Sharon Hakesley, who keeps her two horses, Pirate and Boe, in Chapel Brampton on land that will likely form part of the Northern Orbital route.

A bypass aimed at busting the traffic in the north of Northampton could destroy a swathe of countryside for future generations, campaigners have warned.

Just over a week remains for townsfolk to have their say on the proposed route of the north-west bypass and orbital route aimed at easing the strain on Kingsthorpe roads in particular.

But in the past week, 192 people have signed a petition hoping to put a stop to the plans.

The proposed new road will eventually run from the A5199 near Chapel Brampton to the A43.

But, on the way, campaigners say it will pass through one of the county’s most picturesque and historically significant valleys.

Events manager Tracey Onley, who works and keeps her horse in Chapel Brampton, 39, has started a Facebook group for those against the scheme.

“Within days of starting the ‘Northern Orbital Route’ group it had attracted hundreds of members,” she said.

“When I went to one of the consultation exhibitions, the Northamptonshire County Council representatives there seemed oblivious to the number of bridle paths that would be affected andthat there are over 200 horses in Church and Chapel Brampton alone.”

The campaigners - who say this is not a case of NIMBYISM - fear the new road will be in-filled by housing developments in much the same way Grange Park and Upton have.

As such, the petition calls for the area around the Bramptons to be afforded greenbelt protection.

The person who set it up, Charlotte Mackaness, a mum of three from Boughton, said: “I can’t express how sad I feel about how our countryside is being ruined by unfettered and badly considered development. It is a scandal that there is nothing in our county considered worthy of preservation.”

The county council has proposed eight different routes for the orbital road, which are open to the consultation.

Though people in favour of the orbital road will believe the loss of countryside is a necessary evil - one point both sides agree on is that a north -west bypass and the longer orbital road cannot be opened separately.

At present plans are to build the north-west relief road, linking the A428 Harlestone Road with the A5199 Welford Road by 2021.

The remainder of the route, between Welford Road and the A43 will be finished two years later.

But both those for against the overall scheme believe this staggered building schedule dump more traffic in Kingsthorpe “[Cars] Will spill out onto the A5199 where I work and keep my horse,” said campaign starter Tracey Onley. “What is going to happen to all that traffic?”

To take part in the consultation, which ends on Friday, August 4, head to the Northampton Northern Orbital Route page of Northamptonshire County Council’s website.