Cllr Ian McCord and I met with the Rt Hon. John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Transport, and his officials in Westminster last week to raise the concerns of local residents over the Towcester Relief Road and its early delivery.
As you may be aware, the Towcester Relief Road became part of the Department for Transport’s Road Investment Strategy for 2015-20, and we all welcomed the announcement by the Government in December 2014 that they would part-fund the project. It was widely anticipated by all that this would lead to delivery of the new road being accelerated. Since then many residents have been frustrated that no obvious progress has been made, and we are all aware that the traffic problems in the town and along the A5 urgently need fixing ahead of the construction of the Towcester Vale / Towcester South Sustainable Urban Extension.
I am pleased to say that the meeting with the Minister was extremely productive, and he fully understands the importance of getting on with the road. He has therefore undertaken, with his officials, to look into all possible methods of funding – in partnership with the developers – the early delivery of the road.
I have made him aware that we are aiming to hold a public meeting in Towcester in mid-to-late February, and he has very kindly offered to attend the meeting himself (diaries permitting) and to bring with him his officials from the Department for Transport. In the meantime, his team are going to explore the options and have a solution ready to discuss with us in time for the February meeting.
I am sure that you will agree that this is positive progress, and I am confident that the work we are all doing collectively (the local councils, Highways England, Persimmon Homes and their development partners, Catherine Morris and the Towcester Bypass Action Group, and my team) is helping to continually raise the profile of our project, and our need for the road.
I will keep you updated as we progress and I look forward to arranging – with plenty of notice (!) – the public meeting for February. My thanks to the Minister and to his team for showing such interest in our concerns, and for undertaking to support us in resolving it.