15 September 2014

A public consultation carried out by Northamptonshire County Council has shown strong local support for a relief road for the village of Chipping Warden.

The consultation asked local residents and businesses whether they wanted a relief road, and if they did, which route they preferred.

What did the results say?

The results of the survey showed strong support for the road in principle with 86 per cent of those that had a preferred route favouring a western one.

The A361, which runs through Chipping Warden, has been identified as a road that will be used by vehicles involved in the construction of the government’s proposed HS2 High Speed Rail project. The road has long been a concern to residents.

The HS2 proposals offer a unique opportunity to pursue a relief road for Chipping Warden, and the county council has petitioned Parliament with the aim of securing funding for the road from HS2 Ltd.

Cllr Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “The A361 is a busy road and villagers in Chipping Warden are even more concerned about traffic volumes in light of the construction traffic which would come with the building of the HS2 project.

“We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate a need and desire for a relief road for the village and I’m delighted that so many people have demonstrated their support.”

A construction compound is proposed on the airfield site to the north of Chipping Warden, and construction vehicles will access this from M40 by passing through Chipping Warden.

How much will traffic increase?

HS2 Ltd estimates that this will increase two-way traffic flow on the A361 by up to 38 per cent for all traffic, with over a ten fold increase in HGVs in the morning peak during the construction period.

The consultation results will now be used to help build the county council’s case to HS2 Ltd and the Parliamentary Select Committee to secure funding to construct the road. It is expected that Northamptonshire’s case will be heard before the Select Committee either towards the end of 2014 or early in 2015, unless agreement is reached beforehand.

There were also some comments from people living close to where the relief road could run and the county council would take this into account when working on proposals.