I remain absolutely committed to bringing forward the early delivery of the Towcester Relief Road, and I am continuing to work closely with both the developer and the local council to achieve this.
The reality remains that, in the absence of any agreement to forward fund the road’s early delivery, it has to be built end-to-end by the sale and occupation of the 1,016th house in the new development. At current build rates, this threshold is reached by around 2025 but would come at a point at which thousands of additional vehicles are using the A5 through Towcester, putting additional pressure on an already stretched local network.
Therefore, my aim is to find a way to facilitate the road being built by the end of 2021 at the latest, and this has formed the basis of the monthly meetings I have been holding with Persimmon and South Northants Council. We had been exploring an option for a purchase of land from Persimmon by the Council, but unfortunately this has not proved possible to move forward notwithstanding good intentions on all sides of the conversation.
Persimmon has now decided to pursue a sale of commercial land on the development on the open market, with the aim that the money released from that sale will allow them to build the road ahead of schedule. At the moment, they are working on securing the technical approvals from Highways England for the connecting roundabouts on the A5 and A43, and these are progressing well. I have been clear that I will do what I can to work constructively with all parties to secure the early delivery, and Persimmon will undertake to update my team on progress on a monthly basis, and I will provide regular updates to the local community.
I am separately working with Northamptonshire County Council to push, through the detailed design work, for the relief road to be built to the required standard to allow for a future realignment of the A5. In the meantime, they are considering an effective signing strategy to redirect HGVs away from the town centre and along the relief road.
I will update further following the next series of meetings, but please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if I can be of further assistance.