Congested roads ‘drive firms away’ from Brackmills industrial estate in Northampton

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Several businesses are looking to leave Brackmills industrial estate because of congestion levels around Northampton, a former council leader has claimed.

Ward councillor Phil Larratt (Con, East Hunsbury), said the issue will get much worse unless drastic traffic improvements are undertaken around the outskirts of the town.

Speaking at the second combined Housing Action Groups’ meeting, focusing on plans for 26,000 new homes, Councillor Larratt, who worked at Brackmills until 2011, said: “I was promised by a minister when I was [council] leader in 2004 it would be infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure; those were his words. There’s now a funding gap here of £400 million and that promise is clearly not happening.

“Why should all these homes be built without that money provided by ministers?”

Addressing a Highways Agency representative, he added: “All you’re doing is tinkering at the edges, talking about improving junctions that are only going to delay and frustrate the people I represent.

“Asking people to shift from cars to bicycles, as the Joint Planning Unit suggest, is an absolute farce.

“Some Brackmills businesses are already looking to move because they are even now incurring penalties from people they are trying to deliver to. We are talking about the economic viability of Brackmills and firms there.

“Without hugely better roads, I fear for the future.”

The chairman of the Brackmills BID business group has expressed concern about the effect of 1,000 houses being planned for the 
surrounding villages.

Sara Homer said congestion now is just about manageable for most firms on the industrial estate, but developments at Wootton and Hardingstone could change that.

She said: “Generally, we aren’t too bad, but if you slap 1,000 houses on the edge of Brackmills, with schools, doctors and the rest, we will inevitably become a cut-through.

“What we don’t want is lorries being late and companies being penalised for it.”

However, Mrs Homer said several mitigation measures were helping to ease current traffic problems.

For example, a bus service, which stops at CoNNect bicycle stations, which will be launched in June, will help encourage use of public transport.