Residents might consider 'blockading' Northampton road if lorries keep using it as a short cut - claims councillor

A lorry blocks up Glasgow Street with cars lined either side.

A lorry blocks up Glasgow Street with cars lined either side.

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"Hourly complaints" are being received about set of tight streets in Northampton - which residents say have become a rat run for traffic-dodging trucks, speeding commuters and even criminals on the run.

To enable St James' Smart Corridor scheme to take place, contractors Kier WSP have temporarily banned a left turn from Spencer Bridge Road onto Weedon Road.

A bus negotiates a tight bend at the top of Glasgow Street.

A bus negotiates a tight bend at the top of Glasgow Street.

But it means the so-called Scottish Streets have proved a tempting short cut for those unwilling to follow the diversion.

Northamptonshire County Councillor, Jill Hope (Lib, Dem Sixfields) says she is receiving "hourly" complaints and adds the residents are so angry "they might end up blockading the road."

She said: "When a group of streets that is full of young children every day is regularly used by criminals as a racetrack to evade the police, surely the county has a duty to do something to try to stop this happening."

Councilor Hope has suggested to Kier WSP that a series of "soft" chicanes would stop the large vehicles and curb the speed of the cars. In the longer term she believes Forfar Street could be blocked off at one end.

A lorry takes a short cut along the Scottish streets to avoid the Weedon Road works.

A lorry takes a short cut along the Scottish streets to avoid the Weedon Road works.

The chicanes could be formed by putting railway sleepers and planters in the road, Councillor Hops says, and could be installed quickly.

The complaints come after a high-speed chase around the Scottish streets nearly ended in disaster on February 10.

The driver of a stolen Skoda Octavia swerved into Bruce Street at high speed, narrowly a woman and her two toddlers, before abandoning the car in Abbey Street and leaving on foot.

So far Kier WSP has placed a "residents' only" warning sign on the road but Northamptonshire County Council is considering putting more measures in place.

As it stands there are no restrictions on the Scottish streets, which means lorries have every right to drive along them.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council, which is leading the Smart Corridor project, said: "During some phases of the work lane restrictions and closures will be in place to allow for safe and efficient construction.

“At these times clearly-signed diversions will be in place and we would urge motorists to keep to these official diversion routes.

“Throughout the scheme we have been liaising with the local community and we will continue to do so until completion.”

But Councillor Hope believes her issues are being brushed aside.

"Any constructive suggestions are brushed aside or the standard mantra “there’s no money” is trotted out," she said.

"If that car had killed several children on Friday (February 10), I have a feeling that the money argument would have evaporated. Do we have to have a death or several deaths before we act?"

The Lib Dem councillor has also compiled a series of complaints sent to her by residents on the streets.

And another wrote: "Cars are now travelling up heavily populated residential streets at 60mph. This must stop now before there is a tragedy as once happened on Bruce Street.”