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New Road for Housing Developments Only: say Highways England

Author: Martin Johns - Lib Dem Published: 10th March 2021 10:50
Liberal Democrat David Tarbun says: “Claims that Towcester is getting a bypass are unfortunately, not true.Liberal Democrat David Tarbun says: “Claims that Towcester is getting a bypass are unfortunately, not true."

A Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrats has revealed claims that Towcester’s new road will become a bypass are unfortunately, not true.

In minutes taken at meetings with local government, Highways England repeat that the road is only designed to serve as access to new housing. Highways England make clear, the road will not become a bypass as the standard of construction is not suitable to take heavy traffic.

Liberal Democrat Councillor David Tarbun says: “Lib Dems are again calling for more forceful action to shift the dial to get the A5 de-trunked. Those who manage the road network have repeatedly told local government that the A5 will not be de-trunked. They also rule out weight restrictions or traffic calming.

Highways England say the road will have multiple roundabouts and is a longer route than the A5 through Towcester. Crucially, it’s not being built to trunk road standards. It will be maintained by West Northamptonshire Council that takes over in April from the failed and mismanaged Tory run Northamptonshire County Council.”

Councillor Lisa Samiotis adds: “The road is predicted to be completed by March 2023. This in line with the planning agreement for it to open by the occupation of 1016 houses. Over 500 new homes are already occupied and build-out is expected to be more than 200 per year.”

John Wade says: “Liberal Democrats are keeping up the pressure and pushing hard for measures that will take HGVs out of the town centre and thus rid us of traffic congestion and improve air quality.”
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Comments

peter k
At 11:44 on 10th March 2021, peter k commented:
Now that the by-pass myth is well and truly blown, will the town's 106 money be returned? It was, I believe, several millions and could be put to better use filling the multitude of potholes in our local roads?

Unless James Rudd's spoof April Fool idea is considered I feel Towcester will have to live with the heavy traffic pounding through it. At least the town will keep its vibrancy feel??
Newm
At 12:04 on 10th March 2021, Newm commented:
Mr Tarbun has got it wrong. The A5 is one of the oldest trunk routes in the country, from Marble Arch to Holyhead. With major distribution centres at Crick and Milton Keynes it is an essential link, a fact that Highways England has recognized, but has evaded Mr Tarbun. It also acts as a relief road in the event of the M1 being closed. As a result of acquiring their own access roads to the estates, perhaps the incomprehensible roundabout by the racecourse will now become redundant and be removed.
The fight for a real bypass should be contined with renewed vigour.
JimmyB
At 12:28 on 10th March 2021, JimmyB commented:
Newm. What has Mr Tarbun got wrong? Your comment makes no sense at all. Did you read the article?

Yes it is an essential link...thus why highways won’t consider an alternative unless it meets their requirements.

What we need is some new people in power who won’t lie to us about what’s going on. The freedom of information info is very revealing about the lack of a proper bypass.
Newm
At 12:35 on 10th March 2021, Newm commented:
Yes I did read the article. What he has got wrong is his absurd demand to de-trunk the A5. Perhaps he and others should turn their attention to Doctors' and dentists surgeries not to mention sewerage capacity for this massive expansion of Towcester.
DavidT
At 13:01 on 10th March 2021, DavidT commented:
Hi Newm,

Why is it absurd to want to de-trunk the A5 if an appropriate alternative existed? It would reduce pollution levels of one of the most polluted roads in the country to a safe level, reduce traffic issues for locals and generally make our town centre a more pleasent space to go, socialise (when we are able to again) and spend money at some of the fantastic local shops we have.

Please don't worry about the other concerns. We don't just focus on the one issue. This one is just quite an important one for the residents of Towcester at the moment.

Many thanks,

Cllr David Tarbun

DavidT
At 13:10 on 10th March 2021, DavidT commented:
Also Newm, just in case it was not obvious. We are not calling for the entire A5 to be de-trunked. Just through Towcester's Town Centre.

Many thanks,

Cllr David Tarbun
Richard Dallyn
At 16:52 on 10th March 2021, Richard Dallyn commented:
As Conservative district councillor for Towcester, and current Mayor, I’m only too aware of the pressing need to reduce heavy traffic through the town centre. Detrunking of the A5 specifically in the town centre section is something I also continue to argue for. This is not a party political issue, but one which I suggest most residents, whatever their political views, would support. A designated reduced speed limit of 20mph and a weight restriction on vehicles travelling through the town centre would help. The forthcoming virtual meeting reported on this site today might be a place to make these points...again.
DavidT
At 17:37 on 10th March 2021, DavidT commented:
"This is not a party political issue"

It should not be Richard but it has been made so. The exclusion of any Lib Dem Towcester distrct councillors from ANY of the meetings held on the subject and our own Town Council being left out of the loop means the Conservatives have treated it as their own project.

Moving forward I hope that we could all work together to try and get the best result for Towcester but this means the Conservatives being open, honest and most importantly co-operating the people the public chose to represent them in Towcester.
Richard Dallyn
At 08:31 on 11th March 2021, Richard Dallyn commented:
For the record, the questions about the relief road were raised at recent SNC committees whose membership includes LibDems. Indeed, the issue has come up on many occasions over several years at such meetings.
Concerns about the related issues of air quality and public health have been voiced by councillors not just representing Towcester but by my colleagues in surrounding wards. We all want, in your words, ‘to try and get the best results for Towcester’
DavidT
At 09:31 on 11th March 2021, DavidT commented:
Richard - yes, questions raised at SNC committees, but no invites to Towcester Lib Dem councillors to meetings with Highways, Persimmon or Andrea Leadsom (not that I believe she attended many). Those were the meeting where decisions were made. Decisions that Lib Dem councillors did not agree with. Do you at least admit that? These are also meetings the Town Council should have been involved in or at least been kept in the loop with.

It is obvious that the Lib Dem councillors have not been listened to over the years. Otherwise we would not be in this situation. S106 money given to Persimmon for a road that they were going to build anyway. A massive missed oppertunity for the town. Which I am guessing by the meeting arranged by Andrea on Friday, we are going to get more election promises to be broken, like they were during the general election.
Ian McCord
At 17:13 on 16th March 2021, Ian McCord commented:
No S106 money has been given to Persimmon. The S106 money comes FROM Persmimmon not TO them.

That S106 money is flowing as per the legal agreements in place. Money has been secured to start the road earlier it is separate to S106 money and reflects the value that Highways England put on the cost / benefit for taking traffic out of the town centre.

That was the basis of the HE Grant the early start meant an early delivery of benefit.

In all my conversations and debates I have yet to work out if the Lib Dems want the road or not. On the one hand, they argue against it, yet are always desperate to find out about its construction. I think the tactic is to let perfection become the enemy of the good, trying to get nothing done to complain about inaction and also complaining about doing something.

Its easy being in opposition - but rather than continuously negative diatribes give a positive suggestion or a credible alternative that is practical and workable and affordable. I've never heard a word in that direction.
Ian McCord
At 17:13 on 16th March 2021, Ian McCord commented:
No S106 money has been given to Persimmon. The S106 money comes FROM Persmimmon not TO them.

That S106 money is flowing as per the legal agreements in place. Money has been secured to start the road earlier it is separate to S106 money and reflects the value that Highways England put on the cost / benefit for taking traffic out of the town centre.

That was the basis of the HE Grant the early start meant an early delivery of benefit.

In all my conversations and debates I have yet to work out if the Lib Dems want the road or not. On the one hand, they argue against it, yet are always desperate to find out about its construction. I think the tactic is to let perfection become the enemy of the good, trying to get nothing done to complain about inaction and also complaining about doing something.

Its easy being in opposition - but rather than continuously negative diatribes give a positive suggestion or a credible alternative that is practical and workable and affordable. I've never heard a word in that direction.
DavidT
At 17:29 on 16th March 2021, DavidT commented:
Yes the S106 comes from Persimmon, I know the process. So who is receiving it for delivering the road early? Isn’t that also Persimmon? Cost benefit of taking traffic out of the town is ironic as there is no proof it will. Also no modelling has been done since 2012 so how do you know? Highways England remained vague and did not comment on your promises of signage at the meeting. That speaks volumes.

Also you did not answer my question properly and then muted me about why Towcester councillors have not been invited to meetings. Your response was along the lines of “they weren’t not invited”. How would they know these meeting existed? Maybe if you involved your Lib Dem colleagues in these meetings you would understand our position.

The Lib Dems want a road. But the right road that delivers the de-trunking of the A5 and the relief the Town Centre needs. From the public meeting, it is obvious still that this is not that road.

We are not constantly negative but Cllr McCord and the Conservatives are not exactly delivering much to be positive about regarding this road. Once more if you involved Towcester Councillors in the meetings with Highways and Persimmon maybe we would have come up with suggestions.
Ian McCord
At 17:38 on 16th March 2021, Ian McCord commented:
i am not so sure your understanding of the process is as complete as you think it is. This money to deliver early is a grant from Highways England to Persimmon to bring forward the road early and the justification is the early delivery of the cost-benefit.

Your comment about decisions being made in meetings you are not invited to is also a misunderstanding of the process. No decisions are made in any of those meetings, all decisions are taken as per the correct process. What we have been doing is keeping on pressure for project delivery, real pressure, with those in the room that can do something, not posturing, or sending a press release to claim the credit for the work of others.

You may also be aware that when I became the leader of SNC I approached the Lib Dems and Independents to offer regular meetings. the Independents took me up and we have meet continually every couple of months, the Lib Dems did not. Your colleagues made their position very clear. So I got on and tried to solve issues with a coalition of the willing.


DavidT
At 17:52 on 16th March 2021, DavidT commented:
So persimmon are getting 3mil to build a road a couple of years early, that they would have had to build anyway and let’s face it not that much earlier then it would have been now.

So your saying it’s fair to not have the Towcester Councillors in meetings because they get to vote on pre made decisions that will get pushed through by a Conservative majority? You could have at least offered the courtesy of involving them in discussions with Highways and Persimmon. But no, that’s not how your Conservatives work.

What benefit would these meetings have really made? Would you have done anything differently regarding the ‘relief road’. I doubt it.

It’s also funny how these updates are coming with an election imminent. Seems to be main time progress is made on these dragged out projects.
JimmyB
At 18:03 on 16th March 2021, JimmyB commented:
David, this is why we need more Councillors from other parties. The Tories have too much power and can get away with anything without fair inclusion or scrutiny from the other parties. The relief road is just another example of a bodged Tory PR exercise.
Always Write
At 07:16 on 17th March 2021, Always Write commented:
David i follow this regularly and really you need to re read wht you write and sort out do you support this or not. do youwant the road? Yes or No. if you do , then support it, if you dont, say so, it seems like yes but no but yes but no - you complain that the council has held meeting to get the road started early so do you want it later - i am concfused as to your position - waht do you want other than the opposite of what local conservaitves want - more than that no matter how convoluted your position becomes that seems to be it - it looks like as is said above here eitehr you want it to be perfect and wont compromise or you dont want it at all byt wont say so - time to come off the fence and tells us

if you cant ask your mate JimmyB to comment comment for you - as (s)he looks like your pet attack dog
DavidT
At 07:50 on 17th March 2021, DavidT commented:
Speaking of pet attack dogs, hello (most likely) Cllr Andrew Wilby.

You need to re-read my messages. I have never said I want the road later. I just want to right road. I have made it very clear. I want a road that can allow the A5 to be de-trunked. This road has not been planned to those standards. All we have is a vague promise that it has the ability to be duelled “in the future”. As the towns requests for a bypass are now over 50 years old. Who knows when this could be. This road is a missed opportunity. It does not matter if I want this road or not, the developers were going to have to build it anyway.

The position is simple. You Conservatives seen to just twist our words to make it seem like we don’t know what we want. We do. It’s simple. It seems the only time you will engage with us, albeit aggressively, is at election time. Such a shame.
peter k
At 12:42 on 17th March 2021, peter k commented:
Regarding the current debate, which seems to have lost its way a little. I would like to bring us all back to the original Bi-pass meeting where the troublesome 106 fund was discussed. I was at the meeting and directly challenged Andrea Leadsom on the 106 funding and asked specifically if it was being passed to the developer to assist in their road programme. She categorically agreed that this was the plan.

That understood, we are now told that the 106 fund was not passed to the developer to fund the road but that the money came from the Highways Agency.

The question that now needs addressing is what happened to the 106 fund. Has it been suitably used, or did the developer take it back?

Another question, still not addressed, is why are public funds, which includes both the Highways money or 106 money, being given to a private company to assist them build a road they would have funded themselves as a necessity anyway?

Finally, will the developer produce an audit for public inspection so we can all see where our money, Highways or 106, has been spent?

Peter Kelly
Towcester
Ian McCord
At 13:42 on 17th March 2021, Ian McCord commented:
Peter, I have tried to explain this on here before and provide a better understanding.

The Towcester Relief Road is a planning obligation not a S106 matter. The Planning permission states that the road must be open end to end before the occupation of the 1016th house.

Section 106 agreement is series of commitments that the developer enters into. There is no S106 pot of money.

All S106 comes from Persimmon / Bloor to the councils, health community, buses etc. There is no S106 fund to pass TO the developer. It’s the other way round the developer pays money under S106 to the councils.

To answer your question what happens to the S106 fund – well as I have said there was no fund. What happens to the S106 money it is being paid and invoiced as the triggers are met as per the agreement. For example £3,629,826.25 was paid to NCC 2 March 2020 as a contribution in accordance with the trigger at 300 houses completed.

Over £4m has been paid to date for the first primary school, bus shelters, etc. I know that other invoices are being raised for amounts due amounting to over £3.5m for the next set of contributions to primary school 1 and Sponne.

So NO the developer has not taken back any money from S106.

Your next point about why have Persimmon been given money to build the road they would have built anyway is about timing. The purpose is to bring this road forward get it open earlier that would have happened. With a trigger of open by the 1016th house there is no date and the developer is in full control of the timeline.
Highways England assessed the cost benefit of the extra relief in terms of traffic and air quality and whatever else they include in their calculation and said that the early completion was worth £3.897m they also said that this sum would reduce if it started later, as because it has started later they have reduced that sum.

The S106 agreement is on the planning section of the SNC website. There is a regular S106 monitoring report to SNC.
peter k
At 14:21 on 17th March 2021, peter k commented:
Thank you Ian for a comprehensive run down on the knotty 106 system. From your reply, I see we, the area, is getting a return financially for agreeing the development and that local projects are being funded by the deal.

Possibly Andrea Leadsom could be briefed on the complexity of the relationship councils have with developers. A proper explanation at that original meeting would have greatly helped all of us there to understand the process.

Peter Kelly

AWRW
At 14:23 on 22nd March 2021, AWRW commented:
It has been brought to my attention that I may have been libelled in a rambling by Cllr David Tarbun. Since I moved away from the town several years ago, and have not been a District Councillor for some time, I have been happily distanced from local LibDem toxic claims an assertions and would prefer to keep it that way.
I am offering David the opportunity to withdraw his insinuation about me. He is as usual 100% wrong.
Since he has chosen to involve me in the conversation I will offer two thoughts.
Firstly that making claims about achievements that are not actually yours is not honest and all but the gullible in the community will see through it. It follows that an opposition group who are hostile to everything and behave unconstructively do not make themselves good colleagues to the majority. Most of other Councillors, Conservative, Independent and Labour are there to serve their communities and not purely to play political games. Party politics have almost zero relevance in local government so “opposition” rarely can be about policy or strategy. Opposing everything therefore sadly becomes focused around unprofessional personal attacks. Not a prescription for cooperation and not the best way to represent your constituents.
Secondly, with the LibDems polling 7% nationally, David is very likely to lose his seat in May as he well knows. We all know the quotation “that every political career ends in failure.” Sadly for him and most of his LibDem associates, there have been no successes along the way. That is real failure.
Andrew Wilby
DavidT
At 14:44 on 22nd March 2021, DavidT commented:
Hi Andrew, apologies if that is not you in the previous comment. I did put "most likely" as I could not be 100% sure. Now I know. Always the problem when people write behind a screen name.

As for the rest of the message. Thats your opinion. We will let the voters judge. As you say, you are no longer in the area and seem to be judging Lib Dem success on national statistics rather than our local Councillors and local election success.

We have had many successes. As with a lot of things we do, we put in years of groundwork and then the Conservatives sign it off and claim the credit. As for being hostile at Council etc, disagreeing or privoding scrutiny can be seen as hostile but is a very important part of a well run Council. Something that was much needed at NCC when the Conservatives managed to bankrupt it.

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