Angry Northampton vicar claims new town centre bus bays will make town centre “far less safe”

Fr Oliver Coss of All Saints Church, Northampton NNL-160112-162809001

Fr Oliver Coss of All Saints Church, Northampton NNL-160112-162809001

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A concerned vicar has taken to social media to announce that his church will “vigorously oppose” extra bus bays in Northampton town centre.

Fr Oliver Coss of All Saints Church took to Twitter to slam the proposal, which is set to be introduced by Northampton Borough Council, following the announcement of extra bus bays in order to alleviate log jams.

It is understood that one of the streets being considered is Mercers Row, by All Saints Church, with the bays installed opposite the taxi rank.

Fr Coss told the Chronicle & Echo that All Saints’ Church will vigorously oppose the bus bays.

He said: “Sending more buses around the church will be disruptive and dangerous.

“This proposal threatens not the solving of a problem but spreading it out to other streets.

“Using George Row and Mercer’s Row to fix the chaos in Drapery is completely barking - it’ll make town centre far less safe.

“Three of the five grade 1 listed buildings in central Northampton are in this square - adding bus traffic to it is not a good way to safeguard our heritage.”

If the proposal is given the green-light, it would mean the loss of parking spaces in the street and possibly even the disabled spaces in Wood Hill.

The plans will remind some people of the days when buses used to line the roads of the town centre when they would terminate in all roads around All Saints Church, as well as Abington Street.

Bus drivers, taxi drivers and passengers have all called for measures to mitigate traffic jams caused by congestion in The Drapery and streets surrounding North Gate Bus Station.

Suggested measures have included putting extra bus bays in the future Greyfriars development, rather than putting National Express stops there.

A spokesperson for Northampton Borough Council said: “As we said previously, we are in the very early stages of considering extending bus bays into other streets as part of a proactive town centre management operation. It is too early to say where these bays might be and what this might mean but any plans will be developed with the appropriate partners and if they move forward, will be shared with the public at the earliest opportunity”