Row over Gladstone Road continues as campaigning Northampton councillor is accused of double standards

Two vehicles involved in one of two crashes in Gladstone Road at the weekend. Photo supplied by Cllr Gareth Eales.
Two vehicles involved in one of two crashes in Gladstone Road at the weekend. Photo supplied by Cllr Gareth Eales.

A councillor who campaigned for a £200,000 traffic calming scheme to be removed because it was too noisy has been accused of double standards after claiming it is now like a race track.

Gladstone Road, or Insomnia Road as it was called by residents due to the noise created by the rumble strips, has had two accidents in the last week.

The crashes led to complaints from county councillor Gareth Eales (Lab, Dallington Spencer) who had led the campaign against the original road safety measures.

But his comments were called “bizarre” by the cabinet member for transport, highways, Councillor Michael Clarke.

Councillor Clarke said: “The potential risks associated with the removal of the traffic calming measures were highlighted to Councillor Eales before the works were sanctioned, but he chose to continue to press for their removal. NCC Highways acceded to his demands.

“In the three-and-a-half years the £1.9 million Gladstone Road rumble strip zone was in place, there were no reported accidents.

“Since Councillor Eales demanded the traffic calming measures be lifted three months ago, there have been three reported accidents in the area. The causes of the accidents are still under investigation. Councillor Eales is therefore wrong by jumping to premature conclusions. He has no evidence.

“But, nevertheless, it seems bizarre [coming from] the architect of the removal of the traffic calming measures. It’s the councillor who demanded the sheep pen be unlocked who is now shouting wolf.”

The rumble strips were removed from the street in May after a long campaign by bleary-eyed residents who claimed the noise was keeping them awake at night.

Councillor Eales said the recent accidents were cause for concern.

“There was an accident involving three vehicles recently which resulted in Gladstone Road being closed for a time and there’s been two more accidents again this weekend, this in on-top of historic accidents and many near misses, so some swift action needs to be taken to ascertain the root cause and any remedial action needed to ensure public safety.” he said.

“It is important to bear in mind that independent speed tests proved 100 per cent that the rumble strips did not deter speed and in actual fact speeds on Gladstone Road went up when that noisy surface was in place, so any suggestion that the accidents are a result of the removal of the rumble strips is nonsense,” he added.

“Let’s remember that 1.9 million pounds of public money was arguably wasted turning Gladstone Road into the chicane come race track layout it is today and the subsequent narrow margins for oncoming traffic is part of the problem in my personal opinion.

“So people should not blame a successful residents campaign for the removal of a public nuisance, we should instead focus on finding the real problem and necessary solution,” Councillor Eales said.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police confirmed officers were called to Gladstone Road just after 11am on Friday and 1.40pm on Sunday.