Roundabout wins in battle to make Kettering junction safer

The possible new Gipsy Lane roundabout junction. NNL-180322-120937005
The possible new Gipsy Lane roundabout junction. NNL-180322-120937005

A new roundabout will be built to ease traffic at a busy Kettering junction after a 350-home development was granted.

A bid to build the development on land west of Gipsy Lane was deferred over a row about trees and traffic control at the junction with Rothwell Road/Warren Hill.

The applicant, the Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance, wanted to install traffic lights and appealed against the decision.

The Planning Inspectorate reviewed the junction – and said traffic lights would cause ‘severe congestion’.

An report by inspector Zoe Raygen said: “I have given some consideration to the benefits that may arise due to the provision of a signalised junction instead of a roundabout, including controlled crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists, better pedestrian links, more control over the movement of users, dedicated green time to Gipsy Lane and less land take.

“However, these would not be sufficient, in themselves, to outweigh the severe harm I have found to levels of congestion.

“Therefore, the proposed signalised junction proposed by the appellant would not provide adequate mitigation.

“As a result, if this option were pursued, the proposal would cause severe harm to the operation of the highway network.”

It was estimated that, if the proposed traffic light junction was installed, it would lead to queues of up to 60 vehicles in Warren Hill in the afternoon peak period.

The report added: “This queue would not only cause significant queuing and delay at the junction itself, but also have the potential to impact on the roundabout to the east, causing congestion at this junction and delays to people accessing the hospital and industrial estates.

“Accordingly, the resultant levels of delay and queuing would cause material harm to people accessing these facilities and using one of the main routes between the centre of Kettering and the A14 and A43 to the wider area.”

Ms Raygen said that for those reasons, the roundabout would be ‘acceptable to mitigate the impact of the proposal on the highway network’.

Section 106 agreements worth £1.554m will be paid by the developer towards the highways measures.

A Kettering Council spokesman said the developer pays the amount of money that it would have spent on putting in a traffic light solution.

Kettering Council supplements this by using other S106 money from developments elsewhere in Kettering to meet the higher cost of the roundabout.

The detailed designed of the development will be considered by the council when a reserved matters application is submitted by the developer.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Northamptonshire Highways have worked with Kettering Council to secure the appropriate highway improvements to facilitate the development.”