'We'll believe it when we see it' say Isham villagers at bypass consultation

The bypass was first suggested in 1983

Friday, 22nd July 2022, 6:00 am

Residents of a traffic-blighted village have turned out in force to scrutinise plans for the long-awaited A509 bypass to divert lorries, vans and cars away from the main road through Isham.

A public consultation, being carried out by consultants WSP for North Northants Council, moved to Isham Village Hall with a steady number of people eager to see plans.

Villagers questioned the new road’s designers about road surfaces, footpaths and the measures to be installed to reduce noise and disruption.

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Graham Rait has campaigned for a bypass for Isham since 1983

But bypass campaigners have been consulted before – in 2003 – and there is some scepticism that the road building process will progress at pace.

Graham Rait, veteran bypass campaigner, said: “I’m not holding my breath. Will the bypass happen? Will the bypass happen on time? – Not a cat in hell’s chance.

"I have more bits of paper and emails telling me it’s going to start going back to 1988 than you would believe.

"I’ve had meetings with the minister for transport, highways, the council, all you get is prevarication and wishy-washy answers and I’m not holding out any hope for this one.

Lynn Hogg discusses the project with Ben Plucknett from WSP

"It’s only going to take a couple of complaints and then it will be a public enquiry, then they have to put in planning permission and get that approved.

"This has been going on for decades. When those warehouses (at Symmetry Park) are built the traffic is going to get worse.”

Villagers in Isham started campaigning for the bypass after the tragic death of a schoolgirl, knocked off her bike by a motorist in 1983.

In the nearly four decades since the campaign began, the traffic flow has more than doubled from 12,000 vehicles in 24 hours to 26,000 at the last count.

Debbie Barton looking at the plans

Since the first public consultation in 2003 and public enquiry in 2009, the route has been changed and road designs altered with the carriageway set to skirt close to houses at a reduced depth.

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Poring over the plans were mum and daughter, Julie George and Andrea Toseland, who have their family house in Winston Drive. The new bypass would pass just metres from the bottom of their garden.

Juiie said: “It’s going to be different. At the moment you can hear a pin drop in the garden, but it’s all going to change.”

The planned route of the new bypass

The road cutting was to be 9m but the depth on the new plans has the road surface 3m higher but there are plans to have a low-noise road surface.

Andrea said: “They are looking to the financial aspect. It’s a cut-price solution. I was part of this in 2003. We fought for a noise barrier. At the end of the day it’s been going on for 30 years.”

Ryehill Close resident, Margaret Priest has been waiting for decades for the bypass.

She said: “It’s about time it arrived, after all these years. As long as there isn’t any infill with warehouses.”

Thomas Smith lives in Winston Drive close to the proposed road and says he would have preferred the route to have used the Ise valley.

He said: “The traffic nose to tail and there’s lots and lots of lorries. You just have to put up with it.

Thomas Smith with Ronan Finch from WSP

"I hope the road gets built but seeing is believing.”

The scheme’s Outline Business Case (OBC) for Government funding for construction and the planning application are currently anticipated to be finalised and submitted by late 2022.

The OBC predicts traffic volumes by 2038 numbers could reach up to 2,300 during the morning rush hour without the bypass but could be reduced to 400 with the new road.

It is currently projected that construction will start in November 2024, with the bypass opening in November 2026

Kettering Road residents Mike and Debbie Barton said: “We are very happy with the plans. We are very much in favour. There’s just too much traffic and it’s very much needed."

Isham born-and-bred Lynn Hogg who also lives next to the A509 welcomes the bypass but is concerned about the disruption during any building process.

She added: “Isham was a nice little village. It was quiet until the A14 and the A45 were built. It’s a constant rumble and shaking. We need the bypass.

"I’ll believe it when it’s done.”

Residents can attend the next in-person session consultation in Wellingborough Market Place on Saturday, August 20 from 9am to 4pm.

Members of the public can also attend via online sessions

• Wednesday, August 3 2022 from 6pm to 8pm

• Wednesday, August 10 2022 from 6pm to 8pm

Julie George and Andrea Toseland's family home backs onto the route of the proposed road