A topping-out ceremony has been held at Northampton’s new £7 million bus interchange, which will be called the North Gate Bus Station.
The name for the site, which was announced today, has been chosen because the development sits at Northampton Castle’s original northern entrance.
The new station is expected to open towards the end of March 2014, and will enable the dated Greyfriars building to be demolished.
The development is funded by Northampton Borough Council, the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation and Northamptonshire County Council, and sits on the site bordered by Greyfriars, Sheep Street, Bradshaw Street and Silver Street.
Dignitaries attended the ceremony at the former Fishmarket site this morning, where the last coping stone was pointed in at the top of the building by Northampton Borough Council leader, David Mackintosh.
Councillor Mackintosh, (Con, Rectory Farm) said: “This is a positive step forward for the town and a long time coming. It allows us to free up the Greyfriars site for new development.
“We felt we needed a proper name and this was the entrance you would have taken if you had come through the castle’s north gate. We wanted to give it a name which really resonated.”
Northampton South MP Brian Binley said: “It is very important seeing it pretty close to being finished, and I recognise that it is going to serve the town and be a great asset.
“I’m delighted, because Northampton is on the way up. For 40 years we have had an inferiority complex with Milton Keynes, and Milton Keynes has not got half as much as we have got to offer.”
Graham Howe, managing director of contractors, Kier, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be entrusted with this project. We are on programme to complete early in the new year.”
The demolition of Greyfriars, which Grand Designs television presenter Kevin McCloud once labelled ‘the mouth of hell’, is set to begin in July 2014 and is expected to take several months.
A contract signed by the previous Liberal Democrat administration means owners, Legal and General, are first in line to expand the Grosvenor Centre on the Greyfriars site, if it wishes to do so.