'˜Not perfect' plans for Rushden Lakes link road recommended for approval

Plans for a new link road between Ditchford Lane and Rushden Lakes have been recommended for approval.

Friday, 7th September 2018, 6:00 am
The proposed link road for Rushden Lakes
The proposed link road for Rushden Lakes

Construction of a link road on land to the west of Rushden Lakes will be considered by East Northants Council’s planning management committee next Wednesday.

The plans include associated footpaths, crossings, junctions and lighting along the route and there would also be a requirement for alterations to Ditchford Road as well as the A45 east sliproad.

Rushden Lakes from the air (picture by John Bancroft)

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Rushden Town Council has raised no objection, but said consideration needs to be given to widening the slip road off the A45 leading to the Ditchford roundabout.

They are also concerned about the adverse effect of increased traffic on Ditchford Mill Bridge.

Higham Ferrers Town Council has objected with concerns over traffic backing up onto the A45 from the increase in traffic on the slip road and the effect of traffic on Ditchford Mill Bridge.

Irthlingborough Town Council has similar safety concerns.

While Irchester Parish Council doesn’t have any major objections, it says it would welcome it as it will alleviate traffic congestion.

Thirty local businesses have been notified about the plans, with just one representation received from the operator of Buddies restaurant.

They said there is no road or pedestrian entrance to the Travelodge site where Buddies is situated and the site becomes an island when there is an accident or congestion.

They also said congestion on the A45 puts visitors off visiting Buddies, particularly during the day.

It is hoped the link road will provide a second point of access into Rushden Lakes and to cut congestion in and around the Skew Bridge roundabout.

The report due to be considered by councillors says local opinion is mixed on the application with regard to highways, and adds: “The concerns and scepticism are understood to a degree, as when the A45 Skew Bridge roundabout was adapted to facilitate Rushden Lakes, this would have been agreed by Highways England and the county council at the time.

“Anecdotally at least, this layout has not proven to be a success so far, and this is before the Rushden Lakes development is completed.”

But the report concludes: “In conclusion and on balance, the recommendation is that the application should be approved.

“To date, Rushden Lakes has generated more vehicular traffic than envisaged and it is not yet fully built.

“Once the leisure complex and Garden Square are open, it is likely that traffic will increase further.

“On that basis, a second access into Rushden Lakes not only seems sensible, but in reality will be vital.

“It should alleviate some of the congestion at the A45 Skew Bridge roundabout, but is likely to create more congestion elsewhere.

“On the grounds of highway convenience rather than safety, there is some scepticism as to whether the proposed link road and improvements to the A45 sliproad/Ditchford Road will be a success.

“The layout is also somewhat disjointed.

“What is clear though is that a second point of access to Rushden Lakes would represent an improvement over the current arrangements.

“The proposal before us is not perfect, but would represent an improvement and would also offer better connectivity to both Rushden and Wellingborough for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

“The county council highways team are satisfied with the proposal in highway safety terms and it is anticipated that Highways England will remove their objection once they have assessed the latest plans.”

The recommendation is to approve the application subject to the Highways England objection being overcome and subject to various conditions.