Free bus and East Northampton investment plans voted down as part of 'alternative budget'

Councillor Danielle Stone.
Councillor Danielle Stone.
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A move to bypass the proposed Tory budget at the borough council and shift investment towards the east of Northampton, introduce a free town “hopper bus” and build 200 new council homes was voted down this week.

The Conservative-led authority at the Guildhall ratified its plan to raise council tax for the first time in five years and commit almost £14 million to major infrastructure projects from the Vulcan Works scheme to the revamp of the museum and art gallery.

But Labour’s attempts to propose an alternative budget on Monday night did not win enough approval from the chamber.

Leader of the opposition, Councillor Danielle Stone, said: “This year we set an alternative not just for the forthcoming year but for future years as well.

“Our alternative proposed to freeze the council tax reduction scheme to help the poorest people in our town. Other things included recruiting an additional neighbourhood warden and another private sector housing office."

In terms of capital spending Labour looked to invest in improving the look of the East Northampton and make improvements for coach passengers in Victoria Street.

Longer term, Labour proposed introducing a “hopper bus” free for under 16s between key points in the town, to start building more social housing and to re-site the waste depot currently in St James to make way for development. Labour also proposed reinstating neighbourhood co-ordinators in the town, which were removed by the Conservatives four years ago.