Staggered starting times for Northampton school children and workers ‘may help solve congestion fears’

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Pupils at a new school in Northampton may start their day at different times to alleviate predicted traffic problems for nearby residents, a senior councillor has said.

Michael Clarke, the county council cabinet member for transport, said staggered starting and finishing times at the Barrack Road School may be necessary to ensure congestion is kept to a minimum when the 2,000-pupil building opens next year.

He also said that County Hall officials will talk to employers in the Enterprise Zone about a similar measure for their staff. Local authority staff set to move to Angel Street may also take part in the scheme.

Councillor Clarke said: “The Barrack Road is a very narrow artery surround by a Victorian road system and the extra traffic from the new school will be like squeezing a quart into a pint pot. We have to do some blue sky thinking to get around that.

“The idea of staggered starting times would see children start at perhaps 8.30am then every 15 minutes until perhaps 9.15.

“You would get corresponding finishing times and that would break up the dropping-off period.”

Councillor Clarke was speaking following the Semilong Community Forum meeting about traffic issues likely to arise after the school - which is currently a derelict Royal Mail sorting office - is converted

Issues raised include concerns about congestion and lack of parking spaces, and also that the road surface in their residential streets will deteriorate.

The council said £750,000 is being allocated to upgrade residential streets and that a drop-off point is to be built in the school grounds

A spokeswoman said: “The approved site plan, which was created in partnership with the academy sponsor EMLC Trust, includes a pick-up and drop-off point for parents to the rear of the new school building, which will alleviate residents’ concerns about inconsiderate parking on the main road and surrounding streets.

“We are also proposing a signalised junction at the access to the school to manage traffic flow and avoid congestion on Barrack Road.”

Other schemes such as sequencing of traffic lights and properly-lit footpaths are also set to be included in a blueprint that will be shown to residents by the end of October.