Town must be included in huge transport plan

The Chowns Mill roundabout
The Chowns Mill roundabout

A far-reaching plan to meet the county’s transport needs for the next two decades should include Rushden and surrounding areas.

The draft proposals, which have been the subject of an eight-week consultation process set to end on Thursday, January 20, will be discussed by the county council’s North Northamptonshire Joint Committee on Thursday.

The strategy, which will run until 2031, includes proposals for Corby, Kettering and Northampton. Now, the county council’s joint planning unit is recommending Rushden and the surrounding area is also included.

A report to the meeting says: “The unit supports the updating of town transport strategies for Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough.

“This focus on places experiencing significant growth should be extended to include Rushden or the Four Towns Plan area [Rushden/Higham Ferrers, Irthingborough and Raunds]. It is essential that Rushden’s infrastructure and transport requirements are fully understood and embedded within the transportation plan.”

Concerns have already been raised over traffic congestion in the Rushden, particularly on the A6/A45 junction at Chowns Mill roundabout.

Rushden Town Council leader Sarah Peacock said: “There has has been a great deal of development in the past 10 years and there is still room for expansion.

“It’s important that as Rushden and the surrounding area grows, we provide the necessary infrastructure.

“I’m delighted it has been recognised that our needs should be taken into account as part of the county’s overall transport plan.

“Rushden alone has a population of more than 30,000 and the town is still growing. At last people are recognising we are here.”

The overall transport plan will include “daughter documents” covering each town in the north of the county, as well as issues such as highways improvement, parking, rail, road safety, road freight, bus travel and walking.

The role of rail freight has been identified as a priority and Eurohub at Corby has been highlighted as a strategic distribution centre.

Plans are already in the pipeline for a massive rail-served warehouse in Corby, which is expected to create 1,000 jobs.