A43 dual carriageway between Northampton and Kettering given funding after HS2 U-turn by Sunak

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The switch has gone from rail to road

A mile-long section of dual carriageway on the A43 between Northampton and Kettering has been awarded cash after the decision to scrap the extension of HS2.

In a speech at the Conservative Party conference today (Wednesday) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed that the Birmingham to Manchester leg of the high-speed train line would be ditched, with £36bn instead being spent elsewhere.

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And the Government has announced that in the East Midlands it means £250m to ‘fully fund’ ten road schemes – including the A43 dualling project and the A509 Isham bypass.

The 1.1mile section is from Overstone Gate to the Sywell/Holcot roundabout on the A43The 1.1mile section is from Overstone Gate to the Sywell/Holcot roundabout on the A43
The 1.1mile section is from Overstone Gate to the Sywell/Holcot roundabout on the A43

MP for Kettering Philip Hollobone welcomed the cash for the road widening scheme.

He said: "It's a short section of road from Overstone Grange to the Holcot/Sywell roundabout. Any improvements to the road network locally is to be welcomed."

In April, West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) cabinet had reviewed and agreed plans to deliver the dualling of the A43 carriageway between Northampton and the A14 at Kettering.

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Known as phase three, the dualling of the road is all within the WNC boundary.

Subject to gaining the necessary approvals and funding, it is anticipated that construction could begin in early 2026, with completion in Spring 2027.

Both West and North Northants Councils (NNC) have a longer-term ‘aspiration’ to improve connectivity from Northampton to the A14 at Kettering to relieve congestion and improve journey times.

Further improvement works following the completion of phase three will be delivered and determined by North Northamptonshire Council.

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As the scheme is being delivered across WNC and NNC areas, the works will be jointly developed by the two councils and, as most of the scheme lies within West Northamptonshire, WNC will be the lead authority, with appropriate involvement and funding from NNC.

The road will also help facilitate the further development of Overstone Grange, delivering much needed housing within the area.

Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of North Northamptonshire Council, said: “We welcome this investment in our area – as the A509 Isham bypass and the dualling of the A43 between Kettering and Northampton are key infrastructure projects for North Northamptonshire.

“The schemes are important to unlock future economic growth, improve journey times for commuters, connect communities and relieve congestion. The Isham scheme in particular will greatly relieve through traffic in some villages.

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“We wait to hear further details from Government about how funding will be allocated and the timescales involved.

“They are both schemes which have been in fruition for many years and we welcome any decision that would bring them a step closer for the people of North Northamptonshire.”

Mr Sunak said the decision not to press on with HS2 north of Birmingham was down to costs and delays.

But the scrapping of part of the HS2 rail project has had a positive effect for rail users using the East Midlands Mainline.

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Mr Hollobone said: “There is a knock-on effect from HS2 in that services to the East Midlands that would have been downgraded - there would have been fewer services - are now not being downgraded which is good news for Kettering."