Concerns raised over 'stupid' proposal to close busy road in Daventry for six weeks

Concerns have been raised about how a potential plan to close a busy road in Daventry for six weeks would severely impact residents and motorists.

Northamptonshire County Council's proposal to close the A361 between the Northern Way/Drayton Way roundabout north past the roundabout for Middlemore from early February until mid-March.

There is a proposal to close the A361 between the Northern Way roundabout and Middlemore estate, which Cllr David James (pictured) is against. Photo: Google and JPI Media

There is a proposal to close the A361 between the Northern Way roundabout and Middlemore estate, which Cllr David James (pictured) is against. Photo: Google and JPI Media

But there are worries about how residents, buses and emergency services would access the estate as well as the knock-on effect on traffic and the surrounding villages.

Daventry district councillor David James said: "We're all concerned about it - it's not on really. If it goes ahead as planned at present, it will be total chaos if that road is closed.

"I'm just waiting for and hoping the county council is going to detract from that and come up with a different proposal."

The A361 would be shut so utility companies can do what they need to do for the new Micklewell Park development in one go rather than a drawn-out series of partial closures.

If the A361 is closed, the only access to Middlemore would be where Farnborough Drive connects to Heartlands Business Park, which is only supposed to be used one-way by buses. Photo: Google

If the A361 is closed, the only access to Middlemore would be where Farnborough Drive connects to Heartlands Business Park, which is only supposed to be used one-way by buses. Photo: Google

But it would mean the only access to Middlemore estate would be to the east which is Farnborough Drive, a single-lane busway that goes to Heartlands Business Park.

Residents believe this will cause a lot of congestion, making it harder for the emergency services to get around and the bus would be forced to go back that way too.

Karen Tweedale, from the residents association and Daventry Town Council, said: "We're just concerned that this is an accident waiting to happen.

"There are frequent stand-offs between bus drivers and residents who live on the far end of the estate and want to use the quickest way out."

It is unclear where the diversion would go but it should be on the same level of road as the A361, meaning traffic could be sent down the A5 instead.

Cllr James is worried lorries and cars could start taking shortcuts through villages like Braunston and Welton to get around the closure plus the angry commuters who use that road every day.

"To shut that road, bearing in mind there's only one access to Middlemore residents which is unsatisfactory as it's a single carriageway, is stupid, absolutely stupid," he said.

Middlemore residents association held a meeting on Tuesday (January 21) to discuss the proposal, with between 50 and 60 concerned people attending.

Ms Tweedale said they agreed to fight the scheme and appeal for the busway to be widened with the potential for legal action should the county council ignore their pleas.

A possible alternative to to the works is to have the utilities moved to Northern Valley Park on the other side of the A361 instead of under the A361.

Daventry District Council owns the park and Ms Tweedale said officers are sympathetic to the idea and will be bringing it up with councillors.

Failing that, the A361 works could be done over a longer period of time with partial closures and traffic lights.

A county council spokesman said plans are still being drawn up for the road closure and there is a meeting next week to consider the options.