Thirteen years ago, residents living around the soon-to-open Corby railway station warned authorities that they were piling up parking problems at and around the site.
Now, people who live near the station, tired, are again calling for a residence permit zone due to the number of vehicles clogging their roads.
Residents of Scott Road say people leave their cars on the grassy edges and park unsafely around the corner so that emergency vehicles have a hard time getting through.
The street runs parallel to Oakley Road and is the closest to the station without double yellow lines. Residents say the problem has worsened during the construction of flats on Station Road because contractors park their vehicles there rather than pay parking fees.
Residents our reporters spoke to said the problems had eased a bit during the lockdown, but with the speeding up of construction on the building next door, the doubling of the number of trains to London and a increased number of commuters returning to the office after Covid restrictions were lifted, they are now worse than ever.
Residents fear that, with residents due to move into the swish development next month and there not being enough parking spaces for each of the apartments, the situation will reach a breaking point.
They are now calling for a system of free residence permits to force those using the station to stop parking in their narrow street.
Station Road itself has double yellow lines and is therefore not affected by the issues.
Parking lots in the Old Village are also increasingly busy with commuters, according to people who live there. And cars have often been parked on the Corby Walk, forcing pedestrians to walk down the access road to the station.
The station apartment scheme received planning permission in 2018, despite residents’ concerns that there were only 84 parking spaces for a site that will eventually house 150 apartments. The local highways authority said the scheme was ‘woefully under-supplied’ in terms of parking.
Phiona Richards, who lives in Scott Road, said residents initially raised concerns when the station reopened more than a decade ago, and the situation has worsened in recent months.
She said: ‘They tried to persuade the station to have free parking when it opened which would have solved a lot of the problems. They said they would give us resident parking permits but they would cost £30 per car and not good if you have more than one car or visitors coming and going. It should be free.
“Tesco realized that people were parking there all day to use the station, so they introduced a time limit.
“People come and park around the bend and the curb and then drive off. I don’t think it’s because they can’t afford the parking fee – we had a Tesla park here.
“And then they said they were going to build these wonderful flats and the people living there would take the train to London every day, so they didn’t need enough parking spaces for every flat to have one. .
“And to add to that, the builders building the apartments are now parking their vehicles on Scott Road.”
Other residents on the street also told our reporters they were in trouble.
One, whose husband is a taxi driver, said her family often struggled to park anywhere on the street. Others said they had been forced to remove their traditional hedges to create abandoned curbs so they could park in their own yard.
Before construction could begin on the former public land in 2020, developer Hecurl – a joint project between Hector Newton and Curlew – had to agree a construction traffic management plan with the then Corby Council .
The plan stated: “It is anticipated that our works will not impact local traffic and amenities other than for the delivery of materials which will be arranged to take place during off-peak hours.
“We will ensure that the project is as undisturbed as possible due to the environment in which the work will take place, paying attention to the separation of our work from that of local residents and businesses and the continuous monitoring of the increased traffic movement in the area Site personnel vehicles should be parked securely during working hours and delivery of materials should be made using the minimum number of vehicles.
“Consideration will be given to occupants of adjacent properties and that of residents. No agent should stray into occupied areas without permission.
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the Northants Telegraph has contacted the North Northants Council to ask how this traffic management plan is being applied.
A representative for Hector Newton was happy to provide email leads showing that their prime contractor Fox Industrial Services sent several forcefully worded emails to NNC showing photos of the illegally parked cars and asking them to enforce the restriction of parking lot because the contractor does not have the authority to do it offsite.
Fox said most of the vehicles weren’t from their contractors, adding: ‘The problem is with enforcement, not with us, because we have no legal way to enforce parking more than a resident receiving a package from an illegally parked amazon van.”
Despite this, locals say parking is not regularly enforced.
When the Northants Telegraph visited the site last week, there was not a single parking space available in the car park, which is run by NNC, and many cars were parked on the bend along the entrance road. Some had even parked in the fifteen-minute pick-up zone, with all-day tickets in their windshields.
Amanda McCann, who works in the cafe inside the station building, said the situation had been much worse over the past month since many London commuters returned to their places of work in the capital.
She said: ‘It’s full at 8am most days now.
“People park in short term bays because they don’t really have a choice. Last month things have been very busy.
“I guess people used to work from home and spend about a day in the office, but that seems to have changed now.”
There is a large section of unused brownfield land between the station and the Stagecoach bus garage, which was until recently owned by the government body Homes England. They originally bought it with a development plan for the whole station area as a whole, and even intended to buy the Stagecoach Garage compulsorily. However, the land is believed to have been sold very recently to a private developer.
Councilor Mark Pengelly helped residents bring their concerns to council. He said: “When they started building the apartments, they had to put in place mitigation measures to make sure local people weren’t affected.
“I am still asking for the details of this mitigation and what steps have been taken.
“We told them it would happen when planning is granted and we want to act now.”
Commuter Emma Parle moved to North Northamptonshire after the first lockdown and commutes from the station almost every day. She said she believed her London employer – a major bank – would allow her to work from home permanently.
“Northamptonshire looked perfect,” she said.
“The houses were so much cheaper and we just liked the pace of life. I worked from home full time for 18 months but then they asked us to come back two days a week.
“I always try to park in the car park. I don’t mind paying because it’s not expensive at all if you take a weekly ticket, but sometimes there are just no parking spaces, so I don’t really know what else I can do other than park nearby.
NNC has been contacted for comment.