Pod Off! Residents oppose Daventry PRT scheme

MORE than 100 Daventry townspeople voiced their opposition to proposals for a pod transport network in the town at a public meeting on Monday night.

Daventry Town Council held its annual town meeting at the Phoenix Centre, off Ashby Road, which gave any resident of the town the chance to ask questions, voice their concerns, or let their opinion be heard.

More than 100 people took the chance, with most of those present angry and upset with Daventry District Council's (DDC's) proposals for a personal rapid transport (PRT) scheme in Daventry (the pod network).

Currently DDC is working on securing a pilot route in the town, with a proposed loop running from the new Abbey Retail Park off South Way, up

along Northern Way and the edge of Daventry Country Park, along Drayton Way and then back into the town centre along the old railway line footpath.

The pod tracks will have to be six metres above the ground at road junctions, around three metres off the ground along footpaths, or at ground level. Each pod would take four passengers direct from where

they get on to their chosen stop at speeds of around 40mph.

Many of the audience were there after an anonymous 'concerned resident' delivered leaflets with details of the proposed route.

Several people spoke angrily about the lack of consultation from DDC on the pods, and others said not enough information had been made public

by the district council.

Rosemary Cooper said: "Many people are very angry about the pods and we still feel there's been a lack of information and a lack of consultation

with the public."

Another said: "I feel as if I'm almost helpless and don't know how to change things that are happening."

Through its PRT working group, the town council has tried to gather all publicly available information together and make it available to the

townspeople.

The town council has also given DDC until April 20 to respond to its request for more information on the PRT proposal to be made public.

But many people on Monday night were calling for DDC to organise a public meeting on the pods and take questions from residents on the scheme.

Lynne Taylor, leader of the town council, said in response: "If DDC won't have a public meeting on this matter then we, the town council, will.

"But it should be them here answering your questions."

She went on to say: "I know there's 38 members of Daventry District Council, and 11 of them represent the town.

"They, as residents of the town, were within their rights to come here tonight or not. There's only one of them

here."

However DDC leader Chris Millar said in his monthly Gusher column that the leaflet distributed to residents was "propaganda".

He said: "To those residents in receipt of this information, I can assure them that they will be fully consulted on any firm proposals for a pilot route in the town centre as and when that occurs.

"Unfortunately representatives of Daventry District Council were not invited to this meeting to put the facts to the public and hopefully

allay any fears created by the misinformed leaflet."

Other matters raised at the meeting included increases to allotment charges, the way the town council's consultation questionnaire had been worded and the lack of information included for people to refer to,

the state of the town's pavements, and flooding problems in many of the town's underpasses.