It was an absolute pleasure to welcome my colleague the Rt Hon. John Hayes MP, Minister for Transport, to the Towcester Relief Road public meeting last Thursday evening.
Despite us both being a little delayed due to the efforts of Storm Doris, John arrived in great spirits and spent nearly an hour talking to residents and fielding questions from the audience. Chaired by Cllr Richard Dallyn with me and Cllr Ian McCord on the stage, nearly 150 people attended the meeting including the Towcester Bypass Action Group, the developers Persimmon Homes, and Highways England.
John gave his assurance that the Towcester Relief Road is a priority for him and his department. My own ambition, as you know, is to be driving along that road in 2020! So although there’s still much to be done in terms of technical design work and environmental assessment, I was heartily reassured to hear John say he thinks the work could be achieved within 3-5 years.
I am clear that my focus is to bring all local partners together to ensure that we make quick progress on this, now the Minister has said he is asking Highways England to move their schedule forward. There is some work to be done on agreeing the final details of construction between Highways England and the developers, but I am confident this can be done in short order.
I will be working with Persimmon, Highways England, Northants Highways, South Northants Council, the Towcester Bypass Action Group and others to try and keep to that original ambition of opening the relief road in 2020. I am very grateful to Catherine Morris of TBAG for her work in coordinating the community, and she has handed me a petition calling for the early delivery of the road with over 2,100 signatures. I shall be handing this over to John at the Department for Transport. I have tasked my office to keep in close contact with all parties to ensure that I can keep you – the local community – updated on our progress.
As ever, please do get in touch with any questions or if I can be of help.