People in Northampton were given their first look inside the town’s new bus station during an open day on Saturday.
To mark the opening of the North Gate Bus Station David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, and Jim Harker, leader of Northamptonshire County Council, cut a ribbon in front of one of the new bus bays.
Members of the public were then allowed into the new bus station to have a look round from 11am. Dozens could be seen queuing to get in to the new bus station before the doors were opened.
The Chronicle & Echo spoke to some of the people who looked around the new bus station and many appeared to have mixed feelings about the closure of Greyfriars Bus Station.
Edna Howes, a regular bus user from St James, said: “I have mixed feelings. I will give the new bus station a chance but I thought all the other bus station needed was a face-lift and some new toilets. I’m not really happy about it moving.”
Phyllis Cooper, of Duston, said: “I think the new bus station is lovely it is very big. The old one should have been pulled down years ago.”
Maria Durbaba, of town centre, said: “I think it is quite nice. I thought I wouldn’t like it. I thought Greyfriars was a good bus station as it was right near the shopping centre, now you have to go out in the street a bit more. Time well tell how good it is, you can’t say straight away.”
Ian Derry, of Kingsthorpe, said: “It looks very nice, I’m just wondering if the location is in the right place.
“I liked the old bus station as you did not have to go outside to get to the shopping centre and it was a shame the way it was neglected.”
There were two protesters outside the new bus station, one who was holding a placard criticising Councillor Mackintosh.
Councillor Mackintosh said: “It was really good to see so many people waiting outside the doors for the new bus station to open.
“This is a new, modern bus station that is fit for purpose for the future.”
The open day was attended by a number of other local dignitaries including the town’s two MPs and John Markham, the chairman pf the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation.
Conservative MP for Northampton South Brian Binley said: “This is a major landmark in the Northampton Alive programme and of course this is an excellent addition to the town centre economy.
“What we are trying to do is create a town centre fit for the next generation to live, work and play.”
Conservative MP for Northampton north Michael Ellis said: “This is a great move forward for the town.It is light and airy and by far the best bus station the town has ever had but also makes the best of the history of the town in subtle ways.”
Meanwhile, people expressed their anger on social media after the Grosvenor Centre entrance to the Greyfriars Bus Station was closed on Saturday morning.
Councillor Mackintosh said this was a decision made by the Grosvenor Centre and it was opened again later in the morning.
All the passenger subways in Greyfriars bus station will be permanently closed to the public from 11pm on Saturday.