Summer start for bypass after 50-year campaign

Weedon crossroads
Weedon crossroads

Work is finally set to start in the summer of 2015 for the long-awaited Flore/Weedon bypass, it has been confirmed.

The revelation comes from Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), which also announced the multi-million pound route has been modified to help avoid potential delays to the start date of the project.

It will be seen as victory for campaigners who have been battling for the past 50 years for an A45 bypass. Since the county council cabinet approved a route in March this year, discussions have been ongoing with landowners along the 3.5-mile route.

While those to the east of a proposed junction with the A5 road have agreed in principle to selling their land for the road to be built, it would only be possible to acquire some of the land to the west of the A5 by compulsory purchase order (CPO).

As it is anticipated that following the compulsory purchase process could delay the start of construction from summer 2015 to summer 2016, it is believed that modifying the route would reduce the likelihood of having to introduce CPOs. Talks will now continue with some of the landowners and agreements in principle have been reached.

The news has been welcomed by officials in the area.

Daventry’s MP Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This is a bypass which is long overdue and I am quite keen to see the physical work start on 
the ground as soon as possible.

“From speaking to a lot of people living in both Flore and Weedon, this is all the kind of thing that they have heard a million times before.

“Therefore a lot of them have the attitude that they will believe it will happen when they see it happen, despite everyone saying that this bypass will be built.

“The scheme will also bring about economic benefits to the Daventry district.

“It is a big chunk of investment into the area and can bring about economic prosperity.

The leader of Daventry District Council, Cllr Chris Millar, added: “This is very positive news for the Daventry district.

“The villages of Weedon and Flore are stuck with a lot of traffic, particularly during rush hours, and I think this will come as relief to the people living in the villages.

“But it also opens up Daventry to have a lot more housing come into the town and we can further push for the redevelopment of the town.”

NCC said they were keen to avoid the compulsory purchase scheme as it would lead to the bypass being delayed.

Cllr Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “The A45 improvement link is a key 
priority for the county council.

“The compulsory purchase process can be a very costly and time-consuming so slightly modifying the route is by far the best option in working to avoid this scenario.

“This is an exciting initiative which will greatly help economic development in the county by improving infrastructure and bringing improvements at a local level by alleviating traffic pressures in a number of villages.”

A construction contractor for the bypass, also known as A45 Daventry Development Link is currently being appointed.

A decision on the changes to the proposed route of the bypass will be heard at a meeting of the county council’s cabinet on Tuesday.