Jill Hope

Northamptonshire County Councillor for Sixfields - a Lib Dem campaigner working all year round, not just at election time Learn more

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GATEWAYS to Northampton – could be better

by Jill Hope on 1 May, 2011

Junction 15 gateway to Northampton

ONE of the issues raised by local residents is the fact that whatever direction you approach Northampton from, it doesn’t look great.

The ways in from the M1 are pretty dull aren’t they? Junction 15, on the right, until recently a prominent stinking waste facility making you want to retch, now looking just like a filled-in dump. On the left a plethora of illegal advertising signs. 15A a confusing mélee of roads. Junction 16 a featureless dual carriageway with a 40mph speed limit that’s being rigorously enforced by mobile speed cameras currently.

From the north we have the Harborough Road which meanders through the northern outskirts of the town, so that you don’t actually notice when you’ve reached Northampton, before hitting the infamous Cock Hotel junction – what a great introduction to the town!

From the east we have once again a featureless dual carriageway from Wellingborough terminating in the challenging Barnes Meadow flyover with its endless roadworks. From Kettering we have the inevitable crawl along the Moulton Road until you reach the confusing Round Spinney roundabout. The only welcome is an ominous traffic sign which says something like ‘No problems currently’ implying that there usually are and you’d better be quick.

This isn’t really about money, but about pride. Why not have ‘Welcome to Northampton’ signs on every roundabout ringing the town – even spelt out in plants? Why not make all the entrances at least look interesting?

As usual half the problem is not knowing whether this is a borough council or county council issue. I don’t care. My children were all born in Northampton, and I want this to be a town they can feel proud of coming from.

The rugby team is world class, the cricket team do pretty well. The football team have some room for improvement but have many loyal followers. We have Barclaycard, Nationwide, and a growing number of large logistics companies. This is a town to be proud of, and that pride should be demonstrated at every gateway to this town.

I don’t care who’s responsible, I don’t care where the money is coming from, let’s just get it done this year.

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