Northampton relief road is not 'fit for purpose' says parliamentary candidate

Sally Keeble says the North West Relief Road is not 'fit for purpose'.
Sally Keeble says the North West Relief Road is not 'fit for purpose'.

A parliamentary candidate for Northampton North has joined local residents in calling for the withdrawal of county council plans for a new relief road.

A full planning application has now been submitted for the North-West Relief Road (NWRR)- that would run as a single carriageway between the A428 Harlestone Road and the A5199 Welford Road.

The bypass would effectively act as an access point to the 3,000-home Dallington Grange development between New Duston and Kingsthorpe.

But protestors have called it a 'road to nowhere' - saying it will deposit heavy traffic loads and lorries onto the Welford Road and Brampton Lane.

Sally Keeble, Labour's parliamentary candidates for Northampton North has now backed the calls to see it scrapped until funding can be found to build a full 'orbital' road between the A428 and the A43.

Mrs Keeble says the plans for the new North West Relief Road will increase congestion, will add to pollution and fail to meet the policies set in Northamptonshire County Council’s transport plan.

She said: “Northampton desperately needs an orbital road and public transport, especially around the north of the town.

"However, this proposal isn’t it, but instead is a limited road development to serve a particular housing estate.

"The council need to consider the opinions put forward by the local community, public health and the future of sustainable transport and come back to us with a proposal that is fit for purpose.”

The new road will cost between £25 million and £40 million according to Northamptonshire County Council and construction is planned to start in Spring 2020 with a predicted
completion date of 2022. The public has until August 2 to comment.

In a submission to the county council's planning application, Mrs Keeble has argued the road would not meet many of the tests the authority sets for new developments.

She says it will not encourage a shift from the use of private cars to more sustainable forms of transport and does not appear to link to the public transport network, cycle and walking routes.

Councillor Jason Smithers, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “The Northampton North-West Relief Road will link the A428 Harlestone Road with the A5199 Welford Road and serve the housing growth that is proposed to the west and north of Northampton. It will also help address existing congestion by providing another crossing of the river valley.

“The new road will also improve access to the motorway and other strategic roads from industry at Moulton Park, Round Spinney and Lodge Farm Industrial Estates.

“Traffic modelling has been used to assess the impact of the developments and the new road. Findings indicate that building the NWRR is likely to present wide transport benefits by reducing traffic in some areas.

“Overall, the proposed scheme will provide an overall benefit to the wider highway network.

“However, there are impacts caused by the changes in routes which will increase traffic in other areas.

“Potential mitigation options have been explored at a high level with the aim of addressing the impacts of the scheme.

“Additional traffic surveys and more detailed analysis of the impact of the NWRR at the junctions and locations identified will now be undertaken as part of the detailed design of the scheme.

“This will enable these mitigation schemes to be delivered to address any negative effects of the NWRR.”