Kettering will grind to a halt without new A14 junction, MP warns
He's urged the Government to ensure funding for it is incorporated into an all-important road strategy
Kettering will simply grind to a halt unless funding for a new A14 junction is sorted out, the town's MP has warned.
The £40m junction 10A, between Barton Seagrave and Cranford, has been in the pipeline for years as part of the 5,500-home Kettering East development plan.
In 2016 the Department for Transport pledged £20m in funding in its road investment strategy 1 (RIS1, 2015 to 2020) - with the developer stumping up the other half - but because of a slow build the cash allocation was deferred.
Since then the scheme has been excluded from the 2020 to 2025 strategy (RIS2), and it would be a disaster if funding was not incorporated into the 2025 to 2030 strategy (RIS3).
That's because construction at Kettering East cannot continue beyond half of the 5,500 homes without the new A14 junction. It means that without funding in RIS3 Kettering could face a double whammy - almost 3,000 homes would have been built without additional roads infrastructure and work would not be able to start on the remaining half.
Hundreds of homes have already been built there and last year it was suggested the threshold could be reached by 2025. It can take up to four-and-a-half years to develop such a major junction.
Now Kettering MP Philip Hollobone (Con) has raised the issue in the House of Commons, urging the Government to ensure that funding for the scheme is part of RIS3.
He told the Northants Telegraph: "This is the equivalent of building a town the size of Desborough onto the side of the town of Kettering.
"The development has to stop at 2,750 houses until J10A is built. Once J10A is built then the second phase of 2,750 houses can start construction.
"The worry is that if J10A is not included in RIS3 then the first 2,750 houses will have been built without this additional roads infrastructure in place.
"That could mean big congestion problems."
Mr Hollobone said the Department for Transport (DfT) has been studying options and costings for the design of the new junction since spring 2021.
The conclusions of this study should be available early in 2022, but funding for the scheme is yet to be confirmed.
In Parliament Mr Hollobone said: "Residents in Kettering, Barton Seagrave and Burton Latimer desperately need this junction in RIS3 from 2025. Otherwise, Kettering will simply grind to a halt."
The Conservative MP called for a meeting with roads minister Baroness Vere during a debate in the House of Commons, with transport minister Andrew Stephenson telling Mr Hollobone he was sure she would be "delighted" to talk about the important scheme.
Mr Hollobone said: "I will follow this up and together with North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) hopefully secure a meeting with the roads minister in January.
"The A14 is owned by HM Government and run by National Highways, which reports to the DfT.
"I want to meet the roads minister in person to review these conclusions and will invite representatives from NNC to come with me to that meeting, because of NNC's role in overseeing the roll out of Kettering East, and because NNC is both the local planning authority and the local highways authority."