The past year has been another busy one for the Daventry area.
We’ve had floods, fires, crime, new schools and colleges, new community facilities opening, and protest marches – and that’s before you get into the national stories like the Brexit referendum. Here’s our take on the bigger stories from the first six months of 2016.
It was a wet start to 2016, with people taking part in the annual Wassail at Daventry Country Park having to brave the heavy rain.
There was discord among drivers after changes to the car parks at Long Buckby Station. The new arrangement saw a reduction in the number of free spaces, with a new larger car park opening where motorists have to pay to park. The story rumbled on through the year, with drivers first blocked from parking anywhere in the nearby layby after double yellow lines were painted, and then to residents on nearby roads in the village complaining about the extra numbers of commuters’ cars parking along their streets.
Drivers also faced another problem after part of the town’s Stefen Way A45 bypass was closed due to flooding and necessary drain repairs.
There was anger as it emerged that £1.2 million had been spent to date on the proposed canal arm into Daventry.
Designs for the new Daventry campus of Northampton College were unveiled. The college’s old building off Badby Road West was becoming too expensive to run and repair, and was unsuitable for modern learning. The new college building opened its doors to students by the end of the year.
Firefighters were praised after going out to clear a flooded underpass in Daventry. The subway at the bottom of Ashby Road by the gate into the Eastern Way playing field had disappeared under several inches of water.
Daventry District Council announced major changes to bin collects which would start in 2018. The council’s existing contract was due to end in 2018, and to replace it like-for-like would have cost it, and hence taxpayers, millions more. Its proposed alternative – a 1-2-3 collection – would see black bins emptied every three weeks, recycling switched to a single wheelie bin emptied fortnightly, and food waste picked up weekly. The garden waste recycling scheme would be dropped, but people could choose to pay extra to continue with it.
There were a few road-related stories this month. Pupils, parents and teachers at schools along Ashby Road made further calls for safety to be improved along the street. It emerged a new roundabout would be build on Eastern Way as DDC removed bushes and trees in the area – although Northamptonshire County Council had made no announcement about when any work would get under way. And contractors building the new A45 Flore/Weedon bypass announced a temporary stretch of the A5 would have to be built north of Weedon to allow traffic to continue using the route while a roundabout was constructed.
But the big news of the month was the flash floods caused by a single night’s heavy rain. Roads across the district disappeared under water and at one stage almost every road in and out of Daventry was affected.
Villages including Yelvertoft, Crick, West Haddon, Nether Heyford, Newnham and Woodford Halse were all struck by flood waters where some homes were also flooded.
In places people took kayaks along the roads, children had to be carried home from schools, and drivers faced hours of waiting due to long delays on the roads.
Labour held a protest march through the town centre against the proposed canal arm.
Developers started work on plans for the 4,000-home ‘sustainable urban extension’ to Daventry. The new estate would stretch along the B4036 from Daventry towards the A5 at Long Buckby Wharf. The masterplan for the new development called for the provision of new schools, shops, community facilities and more.
Elsewhere the developers of the Monksmoor estate said they were planning on investing £11 million in the local area through things like a new primary school, an extension to Daventry Country Park, contributions towards healthcare and cash for the A45 bypass.
Tragically Kane Beard, 22, died after being struck by the bin lorry he was working on in Daventry.
With more and more individuals and groups stepping up to help improve their own patch, by litter picking, tackling dog mess, or other ways, Daventry District Council took on a new member of staff to help support and coordinate their efforts. Many of the groups had been inspired by others locally and seen the difference they had made to their areas through simple actions.
The planning application went in for the new primary school proposed for the Monksmoor development.
Elections were held to Daventry District Council, and while the Conservatives retained control of the council and won the most seats, they lost one seat to Labour.
In a raid that divided opinions in the town, 50 police officers in armour descended on the Plume of Feathers on a Friday night to search for drugs. The scale of the raid was questioned by many. By June the pub had new managers in place and new policies to tackle problems.
An arson attack on the Southbrook started in a caravan and then spread to nearby cars and fencing, also damaging a house. It was followed within the next week by two fires on the Grange where vehicles had apparently been set alight. Police said they could not rule out a link between the attacks.
Over in Crick the village celebrated the opening of its new community sports centre.
The international athletes of the Women’s Cycle Tour sped through the town and district as the final stage of the 2016 race was held in the county, running from Northampton to Kettering via Daventry. Daventry District Council has already held talks about potentially hosting the start of a stage in next year’s race.
Daventry district voted out of the EU as the nation took part in the referendum on the future of the UK’s relationship with the union. In the immediate aftermath of the vote, those who campaigned on the leave and remain side both said that the Government should act quickly to remove uncertainty about how the UK’s future relationship with the EU and the rest of the world would look.