Cleaner, Greener Future for Towcester
|Author: Martin Johns
|Published: 7th September 2022 10:12
After many years of local people calling for the end to the heavy traffic that blights the centre of Towcester’s historic town centre there’s now the real prospect for action and change.
The Mayor of Towcester Martin Johns, commenting in a personal capacity, is urging local people and their elected representatives to seize the moment and support Option A of National Highways plans.
Martin Johns comments: “Only rarely have government agencies listened to what Towcester residents have asked for and then set out realistic plans to meet expectations. However, National Highways proposals for keeping HGVs out of our town centre and diverting them onto the A5/A43 Link Road when it opens will do just that. All the key elements, a 20mph speed limit, a 7.5t weight limit, improved pavements, cycleways, and more pedestrian crossings are on offer. My only disappointment is that funding has yet to be agreed.
Option A includes removing car parking spaces from the market square, apart from spaces for the disabled. Some are concerned that this would impact adversely on shops. But like many other people I have spoken with, I disagree. Removing parked cars would mean our market could return to the heart of Towcester, where it should be. Public events could be held in safety and overall pedestrians would be able to enjoy our town centre, bringing more trade to the town, not less. Local businesses have told me that in 2018 when the centre of our town was completely closed to traffic for weeks, business improved.
I understand it’s hard to image Towcester without huge vehicles trundling through with their noise, vibration, and diesel fumes. It is hard to imagine the market square without cars parked all over it, with vehicles mounting the pavement or reversing dangerously into the road. But soon the old Co-op site will have some 60 more parking places, so there will be many more spaces to park than what theoretically exist on the market square. And it is only theoretically, as many vehicles remain parked for long periods.
Details need to be worked through and agreed. The heritage of the town centre must be considered and protected. Loading and unloading bays provided, and better signage directing motorists to car parks. Ideally using real-time displays. With a much more pedestrian friendly high street, many more visitors, as well as residents would use the town centre.
Whilst some will continue to call for a bypass, this isn’t on offer in the foreseeable, so let’s grasp this scheme and Option A that offers a cleaner, greener, and more prosperous future for Towcester’s town centre.”
Comments can be made using the National Highways website: