“We will not get it 100 per cent right first time”: Council defends rugby traffic “chaos”

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Milton Keynes Council has defended the traffic issues caused by Saturday’s rugby match at stadium:mk, saying “it is all part of the city growing up”.

More than 27,000 people descended upon Milton Keynes to watch Northampton Saints taking on Saracens in the run up to October’s Rugby World Cup.

Following criticism of the road closures around V7 Saxon Street the council has issued an apology to those affected, but stood by the “test event” ahead of the tournament.

In an email sent directly to Carole Mills, chief executive of the council, John Clarke said diversions and road closures around the estate were planned with the spectators in mind and not the residents of the estate.

Mr Clarke, of Beanhill, said: “I dread to think what will happen should the Dons gain promotion to a higher league and therefore attract larger numbers of visiting supporters and as a resident want some assurances that this situation will be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“We have the Rugby World Cup coming in the not to distant future and will not tolerate this situation again.”

A council spokesman said: “This was a massive event for the city, bringing thousands of visitors and huge prestige to Milton Keynes and was a worthy ‘taster’ for the upcoming RWC 2015 tournament.

“When you have something on this scale, of course there are going to be some traffic issues – be it the Wimbledon tennis finals or the FA Cup.

“We are sorry where there was an impact on businesses or residents but we have to strike a balance between protecting the interests of residents and businesses, whilst still allowing access. We also had to meet the specific requirements of the Rugby World Cup organisers for priority routes into the stadium.

“Hosting a World Cup event is not a trivial thing and unlike more established cities we need to learn how to operate on this scale – it’s all part of the city growing up. We will not get it 100% right first time, which was exactly why we had this test event.

“With Beanhill we secured entrance and exit points to and from the estate, to try and minimise disruption and we also had similar arrangements on other estates surrounding the stadium.”