Still no opening date for major Wellingborough route

The road was officially "launched" last month.
The road was officially "launched" last month.

A key road linking Wellingborough's town centre and the Stanton Cross development is "in the final stages" - almost 18 months after it was originally planned to open.

Route 4, a road linking Irthlingborough Road with the railway station, was first scheduled to open by March 2018 before the developers said it would open by "the middle of 2019" in March.

The Route 4 bridge last year. Picture by Peter Alvey.

The Route 4 bridge last year. Picture by Peter Alvey.

Leading Northamptonshire Conservatives including Wellingborough MP Peter Bone, Wellingborough Council leader Martin Griffiths and former transport minister Michael Ellis, the Northampton North MP, all attended a photoshoot for the official launch of the road and another key route, Route 9, last month.

But no vehicles have been able to use Route 4 since and a Stanton Cross spokesman was not able to confirm an opening date.

The spokesman said: “The works to Route 4 are now in the final stages and as soon as we are able to confirm a definitive opening date we will communicate this to the local community.

"The road will remain closed while we continue to work closely with our contractor to bring these works to completion, and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

"We are grateful to the public for their patience and understanding while this vital infrastructure is constructed."

When it opens it will be the first route connecting the town with the housing development which will see 3,650 new homes, shops, employment areas, schools and more once complete.

It could also provide some relief to businesses on the Leyland Industrial Estate in Irthlingborough Road who have been given the runaround by Network Rail over the saga surrounding a demolished nearby railway bridge.

They have faced a 4.9-mile diversion around Finedon Road since the bridge was demolished in October last year.

Network Rail promised to re-build it by April before u-turning and saying they would not build it after all.

After pressure from furious businesses and MPs they u-turned on the u-turn and said they would eventually re-build it, but businesses reacted with anger when they said the road would not re-open until the summer of 2020.

When Route 4 opens it will reduce the diversion by a couple of miles but Paul Cousens, manager at Wellingborough Tyres on the estate, said there could still be problems.

He said: "It may help but there will be problems at the junction with the station.

"This just goes to prove what an absolute farce the whole thing with Stanton Cross is."

Diversions for customers and staff have left some businesses on the brink of closure.

Mr Cousens added: "This will hopefully make access quicker but the whole thing has been ridiculous. It's been a laughing stock.

"We have had enough of losing money and we want to get back to normal."