Liberal Democrats claim the termination of a £250m retail development contract with Legal & General at the Greyfriars bus depot site is “worst thing to happen to the town in decades”.
Councillor Sally Beardsworth, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Northampton Borough Council, said Councillor Mackintosh was a “reckless, bullying clown” who had “frightened off” investment in the town.
Councillor Beardsworth said: “My congratulations to David Mackintosh, who has managed through his arrogance and incompetence to frighten off a £300m investment that would cost the tax payer nothing.
“His feeble excuse for a replacement will have a fraction of the effect, and fails to really tackle the issue - creating a vision for the town in the long term.
“For all the flaws in the record of this administration so far – and there have been many – this announcement, this half cocked response, is the worst thing to happen to this town in decades. I truly fear for Northampton’s future under the control of these reckless, bullying clowns.”
Councillor Brendan Glynane, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the county council, said he believed Councillor Mackintosh had ruined a relationship with Legal & General that the Lib Dems had carefully built up.
He said: “The relationship with Legal & General has broken down. Are we going to get short-termism now with the council signing up with the first developer.
“Everything this administration has tried to do in the town centre has been an utter failure. The bus station is not fit for purpose, Abington Street has been one disaster after another, town centre visitors are dropping and there are record numbers of empty shops.
“This calamity council has proven, repeatedly, it is not competent – the idea of them trying to manage a development like this is utterly terrifying.”
But speaking this morning Councillor Mackintosh said he would be demanding an apology from the Liberal Democrat group for signing the 2009 development agreement with Legal & General when it was in charge of the authority.
He said: “We are no longer shackled by a developer unwilling to bring forward plans for this site.
“I would never have allowed a development agreement to have been signed the way the 2009 agreement was by the Lib Dems.
“I hope now they realise the consequences of their actions and they should apologise for ever signing that agreement.”
Councillor Mackintosh said the decision to end the development agreement with Legal & General was made after a series of ‘full and frank’ discussions between the council and the Grosvenor Centre owners in June.
The announcement of the split between the two parties had to be delayed until now for legal reasons.
The crisis talks followed the Government decision to allow the Rushden Lakes development to go ahead in the east of the county. The 31-acre retail and leisure park just outside of Rushden is to include shops, waterfront restaurants, a hotel and creche, a boathouse activity centre and a lakeside visitors’ centre.