The A43 has long been a curse on Geddington. Over many years, people had sought a solution only to be thwarted. When Eurohub was built, a bypass for Geddington could have been part of the deal. A single pedestrian crossing was the only gain.
Nevertheless, a bypass was included in the Highways Agency’s ‘would like to have’ list of road schemes. This was a highly controversial route that would have split Newton and Geddington, passed straight through the SSSI near the dovecote and destroyed the fields behind Skeffington Close. Needless to say, this did not have the full support of Geddington.
This was in the early 1990s and for many years nothing much happened. Traffic was thundering through Geddington at 50mph and more. People who lived on the A43 experienced their houses being shaken and were unable to use their gardens because of noise and fumes. Crossing the road was a nightmare and it was a challenge to join the traffic in your car.
Sensing a lack of momentum and fearful that nothing would change, our vicar at the time, Richard Dorrington, decided to establish an independent group to fight for a bypass.
The group needed the full support of the people of Geddington. So the first action was to carry out a 24 hour traffic count which showed that more than 15,000 vehicles a day, over 2,200 of them HGVs passed through the village. The second was to canvass the views of the village, about what people wanted in terms of a solution.
The village survey showed two clear objectives:
- Short term, people wanted the existing volume of traffic to travel more slowly and more safely through the village.
- Long term, people wanted the bulk of the traffic to be removed from the village completely.
Armed with these facts, meetings were held with the County Council, Kettering Borough Council, Corby Borough Council and the Highways Agency.
The Highways Agency was presented with a lengthy report and they agreed to carry out their own investigation. Eventually, they agreed to install a second crossing at Grange Road, among other traffic calming actions, and also to lower the speed limit from 40 to 30 mph. The county decided to experiment with speed cameras and, with the first two installed in our village, the lower limit was introduced meeting our short term objectives.
In 1999 The Action Group considered a number of new road options that would bring relief to Geddington and meet the Government’s requirements for cost-effectiveness and environment etc. All bar one were ruled out because they were impractical, too expensive or would not get the support needed. A new road however from the A6003 at Barford Bridge, running beside the railway line, passing Eurohub and emerging onto the A43 at Stanion met all the criteria.
We provided input to the Examination in Public of the Northamptonshire County Structure Plan and this led to official county policy including a requirement that the needs of Geddington be considered in the expansion of Corby. Many meetings with representatives of the County, Kettering Borough and our MP, Phil Sawford, were followed by hectic rollercoaster sessions at County Hall in Northampton when Councillors debated the merits of six different routes. Finally, after much lobbying and several presentations by the Action Group as well as by Catalyst Corby, Councillors agreed to back our proposal.
The A43 Corby Link Road – an update
Back in June 2012, many of us were delighted to hear that the building of the Geddington Bypass, as it was known when the campaign began, had started. Such a road was first raised many decades ago. With the building of Skeffington Close and the increase in properties in Newton and Grange Road on the other side of the ‘main’ road, it was obvious that the village had been cut in half. That, with the exponential increase in traffic over the last few years, the answer, it appeared, was a new bypass.
It took many years before the road reached the stage it has, not least because it became part of a county wide initiative entitled the Northamptonshire Arc. To quote the Northamptonshire County Council:
The Northamptonshire Arc is a locally developed spatial concept covering the whole county. It represents an integrated approach to economic development, the environment and connectivity and is one of the first concepts of its type in the country. The Arc encompasses all seven of the major towns in the county.
However, as far as we in the villages of Geddington, Newton and Little Oakley are concerned, the building of the new dual carriageway brings new stresses, not the least of which is the inconvenience of minor road closures and all the mud and turmoil of major construction sites.
So how will it affect us?
According to the NCC website, there are 5 areas of work that will affect the general public:
- Works to increase the size and capacity of the existing Stanion Roundabout at the junction of the A43 / A6116.
- Works to construct a new roundabout to the east of the A6003 to the south of Barford Bridge. Although the majority of the works is “off line” it will impact on both the Newton Road and A6003 when the new “tie-ins” are constructed.
- Works to the Great Oakley–Little Oakley road, involving a temporary road closure to allow construction of a new bridge to carry the old road over the A43 Corby Link Road.
- Works to the Newton to Great Oakley road, involving a temporary road closure to allow construction of a new bridge to carry the old road over the A43 Corby Link Road.
- A number of Rights of Way will need to be diverted during the course of the works, wherever possible suitable alternatives will be found during construction.
- The projected completion date is Spring 2014.
For further information visit the following websites:
“A43 Corby Link Road” is the key phrase in each case.
On Friday 23rd May, 2014, the new road now named as the A43, was opened by Roads Minister Robert Goodwill MP in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, accompanied by Northampton County Council Leader, Cllr Jim Harker and several bus-loads of schoolchildren.