Trees at popular Northampton forest set to be felled to make way for 'long-awaited' £54.5 million relief road

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“Once opened this road will bring much-needed relief to north Northampton and the nearby villages”

Trees at a Northampton forest are set to be felled to make way for the second phase of a “long-awaited” £54.5 million relief road.

The second phase of the North West Relief Road (NWRR) is set to begin this week, which will see a section of trees in Harlestone Firs felled to make way for the development. Work initially got under way earlier this year.

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As part of the wider scheme, a "substantial number of replacement trees will be planted as part of the careful long-term management of the Firs", the developer added.

The sign advertising Dallington Grange, with trees at Harlestone Firs in the backgroundThe sign advertising Dallington Grange, with trees at Harlestone Firs in the background
The sign advertising Dallington Grange, with trees at Harlestone Firs in the background

This next phase of the NWRR will include a section of road from Harlestone Road (A428) to just south of the railway line and will be constructed by David Wilson Homes and Persimmon Homes.

Once complete the project will link the A428 Harlestone Road to the A5199 Welford Road and will eventually join up with a planned Northern Orbital Road, running to the A43 near Moulton.

The NWRR, which is being co-ordinated by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC), aims to address the long-standing traffic problems in northern Northampton and surrounding villages.

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Planning consent was granted back in September 2020 despite opposition from local campaign groups - who say the road will not save commuters time - after more than 30 years in the pipeline but only got the green light after West Northamptonshire Council voted to take out a £20 million loan in December 2021 to cover more than one-third of the bill following a shortfall in funding.

The North-West Relief Road will take traffic away from busy routes through Kingshorpe and DallingtonThe North-West Relief Road will take traffic away from busy routes through Kingshorpe and Dallington
The North-West Relief Road will take traffic away from busy routes through Kingshorpe and Dallington

David Wilson Homes and Persimmon Homes are also preparing to start work on Dallington Grange, a 3,000-home housing estate on land between Harlestone Firs and Kings Heath.

The housing developers said: “The start of work in preparation for this section of the NWRR is a key milestone in the Dallington Grange Sustainable Urban Extension project. Once opened this road will bring much-needed relief to north Northampton and the nearby villages.”

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As well as houses, Dallington Grange will comprise of the following: a food store; six shop units for retail, including professional and financial services, restaurant/cafe, a drinking establishment and hot food takeaway; a public house/restaurant; a nursery; two primary schools; a secondary school; and Grange Farm will be redeveloped to accommodate a cafe/restaurant/public house or hotel, according to planning papers.

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Around 300 homes (10 percent) will be earmarked as ‘affordable’, the developers said.

Councillor Phil Larratt, in charge of highways at WNC, said: "The project team continue to work hard to ensure that affected landowners, residents and the travelling public are all kept up to date with progress and any potential impact of the works.

"The NWRR team is working closely with the developers and their designers to ensure that both the new road and the development are not delayed."

Labour councillor Gareth Eales, of the Dallington ward, has been contacted for comment.

Nearby, in New Sandy Lane, the first phase of works for the 430-home Harlestone Park housing development started in July.