Council defends traffic chaos before and after Northampton Saints match at stadium:mk

Saints V Saracens at Stadium MK. NNL-150426-234427009
Saints V Saracens at Stadium MK. NNL-150426-234427009

Milton Keynes Council has defended the traffic issues caused by Saturday’s match between Northampton Saints and Saracens at stadium:mk, saying “it is all part of the city growing up”.

More than 27,000 people descended upon Milton Keynes to watch the Saints beat Saracens 25-20.

Saints V Saracens at Stadium MK.'Saints supporters. NNL-150426-234024009

Saints V Saracens at Stadium MK.'Saints supporters. NNL-150426-234024009

Following criticism of the road closures around V7 Saxon Street, the council has issued an apology to those affected, but stood by the “test event” ahead of October’s Rugby World Cup.

In an email sent directly to Carole Mills, chief executive of the council, John Clarke said diversions and road closures around the estate were planned with the spectators in mind and not the residents of the estate.

Mr Clarke, of Beanhill, said: “I dread to think what will happen should the Dons gain promotion to a higher league and therefore attract larger numbers of visiting supporters and as a resident want some assurances that this situation will be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“We have the Rugby World Cup coming in the not to distant future and will not tolerate this situation again.”

Saints V Saracens at Stadium MK. 'Ken Pisi. NNL-150427-010009009

Saints V Saracens at Stadium MK. 'Ken Pisi. NNL-150427-010009009

A council spokesman said: “This was a massive event for the city, bringing thousands of visitors and huge prestige to Milton Keynes and was a worthy ‘taster’ for the upcoming RWC 2015 tournament.

“When you have something on this scale, of course there are going to be some traffic issues – be it the Wimbledon tennis finals or the FA Cup.

“We are sorry where there was an impact on businesses or residents but we have to strike a balance between protecting the interests of residents and businesses, whilst still allowing access. We also had to meet the specific requirements of the Rugby World Cup organisers for priority routes into the stadium.

“Hosting a World Cup event is not a trivial thing and unlike more established cities we need to learn how to operate on this scale – it’s all part of the city growing up. We will not get it 100 per cent right first time, which was exactly why we had this test event.”