A petition signed by more than 1,000 people protesting against plans to bring traffic back to parts of Abington Street has been handed in to Northampton Borough Council.
The petition, collected by opposition politicians and community campaigners, is calling for a halt to work on the £3 million scheme which is due to start later this month.
Campaigners say the high number of people who have signed the petition demonstrates the strength of feeling against the plans, which they say are a waste of money and will destroy the top end of Abington Street. The Conservative administration argues that the scheme will increase the number of people in that area of the high street and will benefit shops and businesses.
The presentation of the petition comes after months of campaigning by Labour, Liberal Democrat and local residents’ associations.
Labour party member, Dan Moloney, set up the online petition, because he felt re-opening Abington Street was a retrograde step for Northampton. He said: “Like a lot of people, I feel that the Conservative Administration at the Borough Council isn’t acting in the best interests of the people of Northampton.
“They have done the bare minimum in terms of consulting the public on the project and lots of the people I’ve spoken weren’t even aware that the road was being opened to traffic.
“I felt it was important to make people aware of what Councillor Mackintosh and his cabinet are doing to our town.
“This is a reckless move. We already have a bus station unsuitable for buses, now the same people are creating a high street unsuitable for shoppers.”
Cllr Danielle Stone (Lab, Abington and Phippsville) added: “The amount of signatories on the petition shows the strength of local feeling.
“It’s a real shame that Tories at the Guildhall won’t swallow their pride and reconsider this ridiculous proposal.
“All the research we’ve been presented with points to pedestrianisation increasing footfall and stimulating the local economy.
“We’ll be sure to hold the Tory administration to account when this proposals fails to achieve either of those aims.”