Rail campaigners reject calls by St James residents to re-open Northampton link road

St James Residents' Association members say they are frustrated that there has still been no movement on plans to create a link road in St James.

St James Residents' Association members say they are frustrated that there has still been no movement on plans to create a link road in St James.

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Calls to reopen talks on a link road in Northampton have been criticised by rail campaigners trying to stop the road opening.

English Regional Transport Association (ERTA) says the opening of the St James link road would stop plans to link Northampton by rail to Bedford and Wellingborough, routes its says are vital to improving services in the town.

But the St James Residents’ Association (SJRA) wants the road, which links St James Mill Road and St James Retail Park, to open as possible to ease congestion in the area.

Last week, SJRA and Labour county councillor Gareth Eales put pressure on Northampton Borough Council to renew talks over the road after delays of more than four years getting the project started.

But ERTA secretary Richard Pill says the demand for the road “does not do justice to the greater need Northampton has of reduced volumes of traffic on the urban road network”.

“What a geographically central place like Northampton needs is to have faith in itself and inform a collective to tell Whitehall that it should have better radial rail links to its constituent parts.

“In terms of Bedford and Wellingborough, this road link scuppers any hope of them being reopened and being able to link with Northampton Castle Station.

“If the Bedford rail link was reopened it would enable 45-minute single train transit to and from Luton Airport via Bedford and, given the volume of overseas students the expanded university wishes to attract, having a direct airport to campus simplified rail access would surely be sensible and advantageous?” he said.

The association is urging others to join its fight to improve rail links for Northampton.

“Only by public expression and support, alongside protection of the Brackmills branch can we hope to see real indents into congestion, parking demand and enhanced urban residency,” Mr Pill added.