Badly parked cars and shopping trolleys clogging up Northampton streets following university move

New South Bridge Road is clogged with cars on a daily basis since the opening of the new Waterside campus.
New South Bridge Road is clogged with cars on a daily basis since the opening of the new Waterside campus.

Abandoned shopping trolleys and badly parked cars are causing havoc on two Northampton streets, residents there say, after thousands of students moved in at the nearby campus.

New South Bridge Road and Thomas Chapman Grove in Far Cotton have been clogged up daily throughout September since staff and students started filtering into the £350 million Waterside campus a few hundred metres away to the north.

Shopping trolleys have been dumped in Far Cotton since he opening of the campus.

Shopping trolleys have been dumped in Far Cotton since he opening of the campus.

Neither street is controlled by yellow lines or parking permits, meaning they are the among the nearest free-to-park areas to the new university, which is served by limited on-site parking and a park-and-ride at Sixfields.

Mum-of-one Melanie Newman, who works at a mental health charity and lives in Thomas Chapman Grove, said residents are even struggling to get out of their driveways because so many cars are packed onto grass verges.

She said: "At first we thought it might be county council employees, but then we kept seeing people get out of cars with university lanyards.

"There are black ones for staff and red ones for students. It's a public highway, so you can see why they park there - but they are parking all over the verges and sometimes even the driveways."

The parking problems are being compounded by the fact two new Uno bus routes, the number 20 and the number 18, have begun operating along New South Bridge Road in recent weeks and are sometimes struggling to navigate the maze of parked cars.

Parking was also a problem while the university was being built and apeared to die down over summer when construction halted. But now, Melanie, 47, says it is far worse than before.

To make matters worse, she says shopping trolleys have also begun appearing in recent days.

"You just think, why would you do that because the people dumping them are wearing their university lanyards?" She said.

Now Melanie and some of her neighbours are calling for the county council to consider implemeting yellow lines on the two roads, as is the case in nearby Henry Bird Way.

And she also says the university should issue advice to discourage people from parking in residential areas and abandoning shopping trolleys.

She said: "I understand they can't control students and shopping trolleys, but I would hope they can get the message across that it's not appropriate, especially when they are representing the university.

"It would be good if the university would agree to meet with us twice a year so we can talk through any issues.

"They say they want to be part of the communiy - well this is their chance."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “We would advise that any concerns or problems regarding highways are reported via the council’s Street Doctor service in the first instance. This can be done on the county council’s website.”

A University of Northampton spokesperson said: “The design of the Waterside campus, which was approved by the local authority, necessitated public transport coming in at one end of the site and going out of the other, as there is no place for buses to turn around on campus.

"These routes were authorised by Northamptonshire County Council and the Traffic Commissioner, with no objections raised by the public during the eight-week
approval process.

“In relation to parking in the area, students and staff have been made fully aware of their transport and parking options; including the location of cycle hire bikes, the bus station, rail station and park and ride, which we hope will deter them from parking on public streets.

“It should be noted, the University does not have power to prevent students parking on public highways, this is a matter for the Highways Authority.”