Town councillor says Towcester town centre parking plans could sabotage trade

Cllr Peter Allen in Towcester Market Square.'130214M-C762
Cllr Peter Allen in Towcester Market Square.'130214M-C762
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Parking in the centre of Towcester could be cut by half after the Highways Agency made £100,000 available to improve air quality.

Last week South Northants Council (SNC) announced the success of their bid to the Highways Agency and Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affair (DEFRA) for the money to improve air quality in Market Square.

The area was declared an Air Quality Management Area in 2005 after the levels of nitrogen dioxide were found to be above permitted levels.

The agency believes congestion caused by cars parking on the square is partly to blame for the pollution and will reduce the number of spaces from 28 to 14 during a redesign of the parking area.

Councillor Peter Allen of Towcester Town Council has attended a briefing on the changes where it was suggested the two-hour waiting limit would be reduced to 30 minutes for the remaining spaces.

He said: “It’s bad for business, bad for the town.

“The air quality issue has been looked at in complete isolation and doesn’t even take account of the Moat Lane regeneration. I can’t think of a better way to sabotage the town.”

The money from the agency will pay for a new layout which will include a kerbed island separating the A5 from Market Square.

It is hoped that will make the area safe for public events like the annual carol service which has had to take place elsewhere since health and safety concerns were raised.

The new parking area will have its own one way system and cars will be parked in angled bays.

The number of disabled bays will remain the same and will be parallel to the footpath.