Two controversial accesses to the forthcoming 5,500 home East Kettering development were given the nod last night by councillors despite opposition from residents.
About 40 residents at last night’s (Thursday’s) planning meeting at Kettering Council aired their disapproval after a roundabout at the junction of Warkton Lane and Deeble Road and a double traffic light junction at the junction of Barton Road and Warkton Lane were both approved.
The meeting was held to address a number of conditions relating to the East Kettering extension to the town.
While residents had backed the principle of a roundabout at Warkton Lane/Deeble Road, speakers at last night’s meeting said they felt this should be placed on land to be developed by David Wilson Homes, rather than encroaching on existing homes near the site.
Deeble Road resident Marion Wilson was one of the speakers at the meeting.
She said: “Every effort should have been made to design the road and roundabout well away from people’s houses.”
Cllr Philip Hollobone, whose comments on both junctions broadly echoed the sentiments of residents, said: “There are hundreds of acres which the developers are going to fill with 5,500 homes – of course there is space for this roundabout to be moved 100 yards to the right.
“The only reason they don’t want to do this is because it would use some of their land.”
Highways officer Richard Hall said the roundabout could not be moved onto the developer’s land because it would result in reduced visibility.
He added: “It is the opinion of the highways authority that [the roundabout] is in the optimal position.”
The roundabout scheme has had a complicated recent history.
Initially, the developer submitted plans for traffic lights but after consultation with residents, the council approached the developer who then agreed to put in a roundabout.
Residents spoke against the planned roundabout at a recent meeting – saying they felt it was too small, a view councillors also supported and the original roundabout was rejected.
The developer’s plans for a larger roundabout, considered last night, were approved.
Speakers opposing the proposed double traffic light junction at Barton Road and Warkton Lane said the proposals would result in long queues of traffic and asked for the plans to be deferred so further investigations could be carried out.
Speaker Ian Brown, of the Poplars Farm Action Group, said he felt the council had not consulted residents properly and that proper site visits had not been carried out.
Speakers opposing the traffic lights instead called for a roundabout at the junction.
Kettering Council officers said ‘intelligent’ traffic lights would be used which would help limit delays. They added that they felt a roundabout would be unsafe because motorists would be able to build up too much speed on approach to it from the south.
Councillors backed the views of their officers.
Cllr Dave Soans said: “If we have experts with huge amounts of qualifications telling us this [traffic lights] is the best option, then we would be stupid to ignore what they say.”
Residents vented their frustrations at councillors after both sets of conditions were approved.
The documents from last night’s meeting can be found here.