'Just leave a big ditch in it': Residents' group says complete multi-million-pound roads together or else face 'super rat run'

Campaigners say the roads will be a "super rat run" unless they open together.
Campaigners say the roads will be a "super rat run" unless they open together.

Two major Northampton road projects should stand unfinished and shut to the public until they can open together, according to residents living near the routes.

Campaigners say the proposed North-West Relief Road (NWRR) will become a "super rat run" funnelling M1 traffic into Kingsthorpe and Boughton if it is not opened alongside the separate Northern Orbital Route (NOR).

Current plans for the North West Relief Road and the Northern Orbital Route will complete the town's ring road.

Current plans for the North West Relief Road and the Northern Orbital Route will complete the town's ring road.

Together, the two roads aim to ease congestion and traffic in Northampton by linking the Harlestone Road with the A5199 Welford Road and completing town's ring road.

However, Patrick Cross, chairman of the Whitehills & Spring Park Residents Association (WASPRA), says the NWRR should stand empty until they can both open together or else it will dump traffic into the north of town.

Patrick said: "Build the road by all means. But don't finish the last 40 yards or so before Welford Road until the Orbital Road is complete. Leave a big ditch in it.

"It will be a super rat run from the M1 J16 through Kingsthorpe.

"Whenever they finish the NWRR, it will take another two years until they complete the NOR after that. Until they can support each other, don't let traffic on the Relief Road."

It comes after both projects were delayed another month earlier in November after a "record" 1,200 people wrote to Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) with feedback in a consultation.

Campaigners also say the multi-million-pound roads will only save 40 seconds a journey when complete, and improve speeds by about 1km/h.

Patrick said: "If it doesn't work in the current planning framework, then change the framework. Let's do things a bit more logically. We believe it's common sense."

The roads will also open up the countryside north of Northampton and allow developers to build thousands of new houses.

A spokesman for NCC said: “The North-West Relief Road scheme is the more advanced of the two [roads], by about two years, and has already received £7.9m of Growth Deal funding.

“Although either scheme in isolation would bring benefits we are aware of the concerns that residents have raised with regard to the North-West Relief road being completed in advance of the other scheme."

The results of the consultation will go before the council's full cabinet in January.