A busy public meeting in Towcester was told construction on a much-needed relief road on the A5 will begin in the next three to five years.
John Hayes, minister of state at the department for transport, attended a public meeting at the South Northamptonshire council building in Towcester yesterday to discuss the building of a relief road off the A5.
Mr Hayes, whose arrival was delayed by an hour because of Storm Doris, said: “After meeting Andrea and hearing town residents’ strong calls for the relief road to be delivered as close as possible to 2020, I will start doing all I can to ensure the road is built sooner rather than later.
“I know how important this road is for Towcester, and has potential to make residents’ lives better – cutting congestion, improving air quality and making journeys quicker.”
Residents of the town have been asking for a relief road for 40 years and it was pointed out in the meeting that Towcester is the only town of its size along the A5 Watling Street that does not have such a road.
Alongside Mr Hayes at the meeting, chaired by Councillor Richard Dallyn, were MP for South Northamptonshire Andrea Leadsom, leader of the South Northants District Council Ian McCord and around 120 members of the public.
Mrs Leadsom, who has held several meetings with various groups about the relief road including Highways England and the Towcester Bypass Action Group, said: “Towcester residents deserve a town centre without endless HGVs passing along the High Street, and I have been working on this with the Conservative-led Council in South Northants.
“Catherine Morris, the Chairman of the Towcester Bypass Action Group, has also worked tirelessly to organise a petition calling for the early delivery and I believe it now has over 2,000 signatures.
“I understand that Northamptonshire County Council are considering de-trunking the A5 through Towcester and I am looking at measures to further reduce commuter traffic with Cllr Ian Morris and his Transport team.”
Mrs Leadsom added that as a local resident herself she was anxious to see the relief road be constructed, echoing the concerns of residents of the area who have been concerned by the amount of traffic that continually blocks Towcester each day as a result of the absence of a relief road.