Residents groups in Northampton braced for more ‘living hell’ of supporter traffic

Weedon Road, St James
Weedon Road, St James

St James residents are dreading another Saturday of gridlock in Northampton as Saints and Cobblers get ready for crucial home games tomorrow.

The last time the two clubs’ fixtures clashed, on March 1, some drivers were left stranded in hour-long queues around the Sixfields and Franklin Gardens stadiums.

At a meeting of St James Residents’ Association last night, residents of the area said it causes them ‘living hell’ on double matchdays in the town - and it will be no better until major changes are made to the roads around Northampton.

Secretary Graham Croucher said: “I’m expecting chaos - I just don’t see how it’s going to be any different. the main traffic from town is going to be the big problem.

“In a perfect world we could just stop all traffic coming into St James for an hour while the supporter traffic goes.

“But that would just create more chaos in other parts of the town.

“There is no perfect solution.”

Several residents at the meeting spoke of the difficulties encountered when faced with Saints and Cobblers traffic.

Keith Bennett said that, while police will be in force on Saturday tackling illegal parking to keep cars flowing, St James residents will likely be victims of matchday “unreasonable parking’”.

He said: “The trouble is, people park outside of our houses so then the tenants have nowhere to go; we’re stranded on matchdays.”

He suggested that the county council could consider shutting the roads off around Sixfields and Franklin Gardens for an hour after the final whistle - a similar process to that seen around the 82,000 seater stadium at Twickenham, London.

John Connolly, chairman of the residents’ association’s, said he will be monitoring the traffic situation around St James on Saturday, particularly the Thomas Beckett junction, and taking photographs. He said on previous occasions he has seen ambulances stranded in the gridlock - but says he feels the county council has failed to grasp the severity of the car chaos.

He said: “Our association would say it’s taken us years for them to even acknowledge that this is a big problem.

“We just want some confirmation from the council that this will be resolved even in one, two years. Sometimes it feels like hitting your head against a brick wall.”