Council agrees not to 'ban' busy left turn in St James after Smart corridor scheme backlash

Protestors have scored a victory in St James after the county council agreed not to ban the left turn from Spencer Bridge Road into Weedon Road.
Protestors have scored a victory in St James after the county council agreed not to ban the left turn from Spencer Bridge Road into Weedon Road.
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A controversial measure banning a left turn at a busy Northampton junction as part of a so-called Smart Corridor scheme in St James has been scrapped after a public backlash.

The £2 million scheme, which promises to "improve commuter journeys" in one of the most congested parts of Northampton and will eventually see traffic sensors installed in the area, was due to start on Tuesday,

But Northamptonshire County Council and builders Kier WSP have postponed the start of the project until Monday after a disagreement with the St James Residents' Association.

The council wanted to "ban" regular traffic from using the left turn from Spencer Bridge Road onto Weedon Road - opposite Franklin's Gardens - to improve traffic flow.

But the association sais this would cause "chaos" elsewhere because it would force drivers to use nearby residential streets as a rat run.

The county council has now agreed not to ban the turn permanently - though it will be temporarily banned while the roadworks take place.

A spokeswoman for the authority said: "We have listened to feedback from local residents and other stakeholders and will retain the left turn from Spencer Bridge Road into Weedon Road once the scheme is complete. The turn will still be closed temporarily during the construction work."

The change of heart from the council came after the authority and residents' association members held a crunch meeting on Monday night.

The two parties agreed the road works would not commence until January 9, to enable more information to be shared to the local area.

Bus operator Stagecoach also needed more time to draw up alternate routes for its services in the area.

The Smart corridors scheme will eventually The project promises to "improve commuter journeys" and will eventually see traffic sensors installed in the area, improved cycle lanes, a new bus shelter and live traffic updates placed on digital screens.