Four years on and still no sign of congestion-busting link-road in Northampton

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.

Campaigners for a link road in St James say are calling for a meeting with council officials - after four years without any sign of the project getting started.

At its last meeting St James Residents’ Association called for a summit between officials at both the borough and county councils to discuss the joining up of St James Mill Road and the road end in St James Retail Park.

Supporters say linking the roads would greatly ease congestion on St Peter’s Way and the roads in the surrounding area.

But despite the fact it is now four years since Northampton Borough Council made a commitment to create the through-route the project appears no closer to starting.

Last year the borough council announced it had a “provisional funding agreement” in place to complete the scheme, but was still waiting for Network Rail to decommission the stretch of freight line separating the two road ends.

Chair of St James Residents’ Association, Graham Croucher, said since then all news on the scheme has gone quiet.

He said: “It is very concerning that over four years ago a motion was accepted by the borough council to undertake this work and we are still no further forward.

“In that time, the council have allowed building to take place across part of the site of the proposed road, we have been promised the earth as an association by successive council leaders and it’s now time for conclusive action to be taken.

“Until these roads are linked all the traffic congestion problems in St James will not be even close to being eased, the phlegmatic attitude displayed by both councils towards St James’s traffic issues is widely recognised by residents and visitors alike.”

County councillor Gareth Eales (Lab Dallington and Spencer) has agreed to take up the residents’ association’s fight with both the borough and county councils.

He is calling for a meeting with the residents’ association, leader of Northampton Borough Council, Mary Markham and Councillor Michael Clarke, the county council’s cabinet member for highways, to discuss the project.

He said: “The linking up of these particular roads would ease congestion on St Peter’s Way and the roads in St James and Far Cotton, which would also mean less pollution.

“It would increase the economic viability of the southwest district and particularly the Waterside Enterprise Zone and the railway station.

“Also the much publicised major problem of heavy traffic on Saints and Cobblers match days would be improved.”

Both councils have been contacted for comment.