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By Kathy Hutchinson

Controversial traffic proposals which threatened to divide Helmdon villagers have been put on ice in a bid to end the deadlock.

Northamptonshire County council had planned to complete demolition work on a disused railway bridge in the village High Street in a bid to make it safer.

To counteract a predicted increase in speeding traffic through the village, traffic calming measures were also planned.

But now council officials have decided to defer the work following a meeting with parish councilors last week after angry residents claimed that the scheme could endanger lives.

The parish council had approved a scheme to slow down motorists in the High Street by creating a new pavement along the western side and altering the road layout to give priority to traffic from Church Street and Sulgrave Road.

But many residents want to see the existing pavement on the eastern side extended and a narrow throttle created near Jeffs coach yard to slow down traffic.

Ala Sharpe, county highways safety team leader, said: "The parish council has supported the proposals presented by the county council.

"However, there have been people in the village, although I'm not sure how many, who feel these proposals are not right.

"Council policy says that it needs the support of the parish council and the majority of villagers. We therefore decided to defer the work to give the villagers time to come up with a compromise.

"Mr Sharpe said if a decision was reached promptly the work could be included in next year's budget, and maintenance work to strengthen the bridge would be carried out in the meantime.

Parish council clerk Dorothy Cernick said the parish council had set up a sub-committee to discuss the proposals, which would report to the full meeting on February 25.

And villager Lyndsey Glassett, who opposed the council's proposals, said, "We are very grateful that overwhelming public opinion has forced this rethink and grateful to all those who showed their concern by writing letters.

"It is a little battle in a big war that I feel that the villagers have won, but it is not over yet and I think it is going to be very difficult to reach a compromise."

The Banbury Cake - 14th January 1993

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