People power forces rethink of controversial £12m Corby cycle lane route
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The contested Corby cycle lane between the town centre and the station will be built on the opposite side of Oakley Road after a public outcry at the original plans.
North Northamptonshire Council have this morning (Monday, May 22) announced that they have u-turned on their plan to build the route – funded by Levelling Up cash – on the Tresham College side of the road.
Instead, it will now be built on the other side of the road where there is an existing wide path already used by bikes and pedestrians and there are less physical obstacles to overcome.
When the plans were announced in August 2022, members of the public said that the scheme, which is just a mile long, was a waste of money that could be put to better use in other areas of the town.
East Avenue residents were upset that they hadn’t been consulted over the loss of slip roads and parking spaces, and others were upset that the Oakley Road underpass was due to be filled-in. Disabled users and those with pushchairs questioned why a tricky set of stairs weren’t going to be replaced.
Businessman Neil Campbell walked the route with this newspaper to prove his point.
The ensuing publicity forced a public engagement exercise during which just thirteen per cent of people said they were in favour of the cycle lane.
Now NNC, which provides administrative support for the Corby Towns Fund board, has confirmed that they are overhauling the plans. In a media release they revealed basic details of their new scheme and said specific plans will be placed online when they are firmed up.
No details of new costings were given, but they confirmed that:
- the route will now go along the southern side of Oakley Road
- that it’s not possible to replace the stairs to the station but that the cycle route will instead be continued along Station Road
- that lighting will be improved along the entire route
- they have reviewed the project cost to ensure value for money
NNC Executive Member for Growth and Regeneration Cllr David Brackenbury (Con, Thrapston) said: “In September 2022, we asked local residents and stakeholders for their thoughts on the plans.
“We had an excellent up take with a wide range of feedback on the scheme. All the responses we received were extremely useful with the project team working through everything to put together a range of changes and I want to thank everyone who took the time to give their thoughts.
“But it doesn’t stop there, we will be consulting on the final designs, and I would urge everyone to have their say - we want a route that is suitable for users.”
A full public consultation on the final design will take place later in 2023.
Council leader Cllr Jason Smithers (Con, Oundle) added: “The funding we have received from central Government must be used on particular projects, but we are also listening to residents, making changes where necessary.”