Relief road to the north of Harborough is suggested

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Market Harborough’s influential Civic Society has said it is “totally opposed” to a new south-eastern relief road for the town.

Instead, the Society says greater priority should be given to a north-western relief road, from Lubenham to the A6.

The views come in a discussion document released by the Civic Society this week and signed by chairman John Tillotson, on future transport developments in the town.

A south-eastern relief road between the A6 and the A508 was the biggest, and by far the most expensive, idea in a transport study commissioned by Harborough District Council and Leicestershire County Council.

It would cost tens of millions of pounds and involve a bridge across the railway line.

Cllr Peter Osborne, the county council’s cabinet member for transport, said: “It’s clear that Market Harborough is going to expand over the next 15 years and we need to ensure the road network can cope.

“We have outlined some initial ideas, which can help to guide Harborough District Council’s local plan process.”

But the Civic Society’s response is blunt, stating: “The Civic Society is totally opposed to building a relief road between the A508 and the A6. There is no justification for this in the document. We feel that with appropriate signing, the A6 with its bypasses and A14 will deal with this traffic.”

The Civic Society also fears that money for the proposed bypass will have to come from more new housing.

“The promoters will look for further development to fund the road. We are totally opposed to the application for 600 houses (15/02006/OUT) on this hillside.”

Instead the Society argues for a relief road between Lubenham on the A6, to the north-west of Market Harborough, to be given greater priority in the long term.

The Society says: “It will be clear that, unlike other towns, Market Harborough does not have a purpose-built relief road for the town centre.”

The document says the Society supports the transport study proposal to increase the height of the Rockingham Road bridge, but adds there should also be a plan to increase the height and width of the Kettering Road bridge.

The Society also supports the upgrade of Welland Park Road, and the downgrade of Coventry Road.

And it wants the district council to consider a plan to help traffic flow at the St Mary’s Road / Great Bowden Road junction near the railway station.