Active Travel Fund

As part of its wider commitment to encourage more walking and cycling, the Department for Transport allocated funding to local authorities to encourage more walking and cycling following the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly while the capacity of buses was limited.

See the Transport Secretary's announcement of this funding:

Tranche 1 funding

The County Council received £351,000 in 2020 to implement short-term measures to encourage walking and cycling.

The County Council worked with Borough and District Councils to identify potential schemes. While some schemes were intended to be permanent, most were either temporary measures or experimental.

The following schemes were implemented:

​We installed cycle racks at the following locations; except where marked as temporary they were intended to be permanent:

  • Brackley, High Street, near to Town Hall (temporary)
  • Brixworth Library
  • Brixworth, Northampton Road near Kennel Terrace
  • Burton Latimer, High Street/Latimer Close
  • Corby, Old Village, The Jamb
  • Corby, Rockingham Road, near Richardson's Cycles
  • Corby, Welland Vale Road, outside local shops
  • Desborough, Havelock Street, near junction with Station Road
  • Desborough, High Street opposite The George public house
  • Earls Barton, High Street, outside E Lee Butcher's
  • Harlestone Firs, adjacent to Harlestone Firs car park
  • Kettering, Dalkeith Place
  • Kettering, London Road Car Park
  • Kettering, Market Place
  • Kettering, Wadcroft Road Car Park
  • Kettering,High Street, near Nationwide
  • Kingsthorpe, Welford Road/Harborough Road junction
  • Moulton, Stocks Hill outside Co-op
  • Northampton, Abington Park
  • Northampton, Abington Street additional stands near Wellington Street
  • Northampton, Abington Street near St Giles Terrace
  • Northampton, Fish Street
  • Northampton, Guildhall Road
  • Northampton, Horsemarket, Sol Central Entrance Plaza
  • Northampton, St Giles Street between Castillian Street and Hazelwood Road
  • Northampton, St Giles Street near post office
  • Oundle, Market Place, outside Tesco
  • Raunds, High Street/The Square
  • Roade, High Street, outside newsagent
  • Rothwell, Market Hill plaza behind Market House
  • Thrapston, High Street, outside General Store
  • Thrapston, Oundle Road, outside One Stop
  • Towcester Brackley Road near A5 junction (temporary)
  • Towcester, Brackley Road/Pomfret Road
  • Wellingborough, Pebble Lane/Market Street
  • Woodford Halse, Station Road, outside pharmacy

​Temporary barriers were being installed in October 2020 to close off the bus layby outside the Co-Op in Higham Ferrers, widening the footway to promote social distancing. This allowed people to queue safely for the Co-Op entrance while still having access to the bus service.

The barriers have now been removed and the bus stop has reverted to the previous position.

We have experimentally installed wands to segregate the existing cycle lanes between Tresham Close and Linden Avenue from motor traffic.

This is the first time that we have used this form of segregated cycle lane in Northamptonshire​.

​We temporarily removed a small number of parking spaces from Silver Street in Kettering, widening the footpath and creating a safer area for pedestrians.

In order to ease congestion and providing additional space to allow bus users and pedestrians to maintain a safe social distance from others to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus, the bus stop providing services from bay 18 towards Grange Park and Milton Keynes from The Drapery in Northampton town centre has been temporarily relocated a short distance away to Mercers Row where two bus stopping points will be created.

This was put in place to address the growing issue of congestion at the southbound bus stops along The Drapery particularly during key warehouse shift change times. The issue has been monitored closely and has seen increased numbers of people in the area using the buses to travel into Northampton's business parks, resulting in there not being enough space to enable both bus users and pedestrians to use The Drapery whilst maintaining a safe social distance from others at these key times.

To accommodate the new location of the bus stop, the taxi rank area on Mercers Row has been temporarily reconfigured, reducing the number of taxi parking bays on Mercers Row itself, and creating additional taxi parking bays on George Row, with wheelchair access still available. 

There is no change to the disabled parking bays on Wood Hill, and the existing loading bay on Mercers Row remains. A barrier has been installed to separate the queue for the buses from the pedestrian area, and temporary signage put in place to direct people.

We temporarily widened the footways on the east side of St Osyths Lane in Oundle, from the Post Office to near the entrance to the Co-op.

We experimentally installed wands to segregate the southbound cycle lane on a section of Rushmere Road.

Works to remove the wands and make repairs to the road surface were completed in February 2021.

​We temporarily widened the footways on the north side of St Giles Street in Northampton to enable social distancing.

​Bus lanes along Weedon Road and St James Road in Northampton, which previously only operated during the morning peak, were experimentally extended to operate 24 hours per day from Monday 3 August 2020.

This change benefited cyclists and taxis who are permitted to use the bus lane and was subsequently made permanent.

We temporarily widened the footways on Cambridge Street in Wellingborough, thereby enabling social distancing.

We temporarily widened the footways on Sheep Street and Silver Street in Wellingborough, thereby enabling social distancing.

School street closure schemes – where cars are prevented from going near the school gates at drop off and pick up times – have been successfully trialled in towns and cities elsewhere in the UK.

A school street at St Barnabas Church of England School in Wellingborough was installed for the start of the September 2020 school term. The temporary trial was subsequently made permanent.

Tranche 2 funding - Billing Road Corridor, Northampton

The Department for Transport invited us to bid for further funding for permanent measures to promote active travel. They have made it clear that they will only fund areas which are ambitious in their plans and look to reallocate road space in urban areas to provide safer spaces for people who are cycling, i.e. physical segregation.

This meant that many scheme ideas which were being considered for this funding were not eligible. We have submitted a package of schemes which reflected their guidance, the technical work on Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (which will be published for consultation shortly) and comments received from the Safer Streets consultation via Commonplace platform. 

The County Council submitted an ambitious bid totalling £3.8m and was successful in securing £1.332m to fund:

  • improved cycling facilities along Billing Road between York Road and Rushmere Road, light segregation provided on west/southbound cycle lane on Wellingborough Road (west of Church Way), Abington Park Crescent and Park Avenue South. 

Following the strong opposition from local residents and businesses to the original proposal to convert Billing Road into a one-way road, we have contacted the Department for Transport to remove the proposal for a one-way system from our bid and will work with them to submit an alternative proposal that encourages cycling along Billing Road, Wellingborough Road, Abington Park Crescent and Park Avenue South.

We are now reviewing the scheme to work up the proposals in more detail. We have prepared a consultation plan setting out how we plan to engage with the local community on the schemes:

Northamptonshire County Council was awarded £1.332m of funding by the Department for Transport to improve walking and cycling along the Billing Road Corridor in Northampton.  This includes sections of adjoining roads (Wellingborough Road, Abington Park Crescent, Park Avenue South) to create an attractive corridor for walking and cycling which will attract users from a large segment of eastern Northampton and connect with key destinations such as the town centre, Northampton General Hospital, Northampton School for Boys and Brackmills industrial estate.

Ahead of construction we will be consulting with a range of local stakeholders.

The consultation will be undertaken in two parts:

  1. A public opinion survey seeking views on active travel and the principles that should underpin walking and cycling improvements.
  2. A scheme consultation on the specific improvements, and options, proposed in the Billing Road Corridor taking account of the latest Government Gear Change strategy and guidance, including LTN 1/20

The purpose of this survey was to gain the views of the population as a whole on the need for improvements to walking and cycling facilities, the types of improvements that are needed and some of the challenges faced in implementation.

To ensure that this survey was representative, it was undertaken using sampling from household/census data. 

The survey was undertaken during January and February 2021.

In addition, it is planned to pose the same or similar questions via specific groups such as disabled and older person's forums, the Local Access Forum, business groups and cycling groups. While some of the same questions will be asked, this will provide an opportunity to explore topics of particular relevance to each group in greater detail. Analysis of these responses will be undertaken separately from the main sample, so as not to compromise its representative nature.

The purpose of the scheme consultation will be to seek views on a number of options for how improvements can be undertaken on the Billing Road Corridor. This will enable issues which have not already been identified to be ascertained and improvements made to the final design. 

This consultation will include those who live, work or travel along the Billing Road Corridor. Subject to COVID restrictions in force at the time, it is expected that a letter drop will be undertaken for some properties, but the consultation will also be publicised via the local media and social media to raise awareness and encourage participation. Specific organisations such as the emergency services, local bus operators, Royal Mail, Northampton General Hospital and Northampton School will be contacted directly, as will councillors and local MPs.

Information on the options which are being considered will be published on the Council website, and while responses will be encouraged via an on-line survey, it will be possible for those who wish to make more detailed representations to do so via e-mail or letter.

As a follow on to their involvement in the public opinion survey, it is intended that disabled and older person's forums, the Local Access Forum, business groups and cycling groups will be approached for their detailed comments on the options. Again, it is expected that this will allow a more detailed focus on particular elements of scheme design relevant to each group.

Further details will appear here once available.

Previous consultation

In order to help us identify possible schemes we consulted via the Commonplace website.

1,950 responses were received and we have reviewed potential schemes and examined some schemes for their potential to receive Tranche 1 funding. The responses were also used to inform possibilities for Tranche 2 funding.

Comments can be viewed on the Commonplace website.

The responses from the consultation are also being used to develop Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans and we will be consulting on them starting in 2022.