‘Give us back our plaques and planters’ says Northampton association after workers removed them ‘without asking’

A trio of planters removed from St James Square have caused a bust up between a local residents' association and the county council. 2cchORrgv58Hr_qRO9G0
A trio of planters removed from St James Square have caused a bust up between a local residents' association and the county council. 2cchORrgv58Hr_qRO9G0

A residents’ association in Northampton believes works to a traffic easing scheme in St James should be stopped after a set of plaques and planters were removed “without warning”.

St James Residents Association (SJRA) has “withdrawn support” for the Smart Corridor scheme currently being installed along Weedon Road.

This week Northamptonshire County Council workers removed a set of raised planters and memorial plaques maintained by the association – one of which was to the late Labour councillor, Terry Wire.

The SJRA says this has been done without consultation, though a county council spokesman said the flowers from the planters had “gone to a local resident” and discussions were taking place about replacing the plaques.

Chairman of the association, Graham Croucher, said: “I have written to NCC in the strongest terms to communicate the anger and concerns of residents and have demanded an urgent meeting for them to explain their duplicitous actions.”

This year the SJRA won a Silver award in Northampton in Bloom for its efforts in improving the look of the area.

The association claims an agreement was made between it and the county council, where two of the three raised planters would be removed and the decaying tree would be replaced.

Workers have removed all of the planters “without any consultation with elected community representatives”, SJRA says.

The commemorative plaques attached to them commemorated the Gammons family of Parkwood Street, who were killed in a Zeppellin air raid of 1917, the fallen soldiers of World War One and deceased councillor Terry Wire.

Mr Croucher added: “What is the point of them asking our opinion if they are just going to ignore us and do what they want anyway?

“On this basis we have decided that we are withdrawing our support for the scheme, for the time being, until we reach a clear understanding with NCC?”

The Smart corridor scheme will see live traffic “totems” installed in St James, sensors put in place to monitor traffic flow and new bus stops added.

A spokesman for the county council said: “We are in contact with representatives from the St James Residents Association about the Smart Corridors project, with our latest meeting taking place on Wednesday to discuss their concerns.

“We have also been in liaison with the wider community about the project and have letter-dropped residents and businesses and held two information events.

“The flowers from the original planters in the area have gone to a local resident and we are in discussions about what planting will take place in the area, once the project is complete.

“The commemorative plaques have temporarily been removed while work is taking place and will be replaced once the project is complete.”

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