Short term gain will mean long term pain

Despite an objection from the St James Residents’ Association (SJRA), the planning committee at its meeting of February 7 approved outline plans to build five four-bedroom town houses and nine two-bedroom apartments on the current Fyna vehicle hire site in Weedon Road. Given that permission has already been granted for a development of 24 flats not 100 yards away, this decision seems absurd.

While the SJRA has no objection to the principle of converting the site to residential use, we have concerns over the amount of parking that will be available and the consequence to existing parking in the area. The parking arrangements are at a premium around Abbey Street, particularly on match days, and there is not enough to go round.

These facts have been highlighted to the planning department by the Highways Authority which commented on the application. The planning officer concedes there is very limited unrestricted parking in the area with double yellow linage and permit schemes making parking clearly oversubscribed. However, despite this, the officer concludes some future residents may choose not to have cars, given the proximity to local services and bus routes.

It is becoming quite clear applications are being determined on an assumption while complainants can only object on sound planning principles! Many schemes are being granted without adequate supporting infrastructure being in place, for the prize of a quick boost to the economy, and the developers’ profits in terms of addressing the housing shortage; but short term gain is long term pain!

Can we now assume therefore, given we struggle to provide enough energy and water to our growing population, that it will be acceptable to continue to build houses on the basis that people will choose not to use these basic requirements?

John Connolly, Chairman,

and Graham Croucher, Secretary,

St James Residents’ Association,

Northampton.

Could cellars be used in station?

There are large cellars under the Fishmarket in Northampton, the area of the proposed new bus station. During the World War Two they were earmarked as possible air raid shelters, if necessary. On the Silver Street side of the building a slab of concrete can be seen on the pavement, this conceals the entrance.

A part of the underground area were the cellars of a pub which stood on the corner of Bradshaw Street and Silver Street: The Criterion. This was moved diagonally across the road to accommodate the fish market (the pub is now The Boston Clipper).

I wonder if the underground area could be incorporated into any proposed development? Incidentally, my family in the past, which includes the Blundell family and Love family, were fishmongers who, over the years, were connected with the dear old fish market. Great pride was taken in providing the freshest fish to the good people of Northampton via the fish market, so far from the sea.

Dominic Allard,

Abbey Road, Far Cotton, Northampton.

PCSOs used in political football

MAY I address concerns regarding PCSOs? They have delivered service to the communities they serve especially in Thorplands where I live.

We have a wonderful team in Vicky, Lucy and Paul, giving a high police profile, something we have not had for years.

Wonderful communities and great help in reducing crime in the area. To remove them would be a backward step to all residents.

It was alright when vote catching at elections but it has been a success and something that the electorate have seen the difference.

We are talking about PCSOs who are being used as a political football by all concerned, both councils, borough and county council and the police authority who have experienced their great work.

Perhaps with a large number of councillors on the police authority that will be our saving grace. They wouldn’t let us down would they?

We are talking about PCSOs making a huge difference in our areas and their future employment.

Pat Gardner,

Greatholme Court,

Thorplands, Northampton.

Taking town back 40 years

YES, it’s the new miniature bus station I’m writing about, a serious concern. I think we should call for a careful and critical review of this whole question of replacing the bus station before it is too late.

In my trade on Northampton Market I get to see many people every day, and talk to scores of them. The biggest concern recently is this miniature apology for a bus station the council are intending to build on the Fishmarket, as a replacement for the present one.

I get customers who are bus drivers telling me it won’t work. These guys have been driving buses for years, they speak about it like it is, and if they say it won’t work, I’m sure they are right. But nobody is listening to them, just as nobody on NBC is listening to the bus-using general public.

If they are not careful, the Conservatives will make themselves very unpopular over this bus station fiasco, and get voted out at the next local election, just like the Liberal Democrats who made themselves unpopular over moving the market and several other issues, and got kicked out last May.

It is time to think again. We must review plans for replacing our bus station, before it is too late. The Conservatives are making a very serious blunder. They must think again and this time they must take the views of the people of Northampton into consideration or take the town centre back 40 years and could be disastrous for the retail trade.

Eamonn “Fitzy” Fitzpatrick,

Ridgeway, Northampton.

Board promotes animal welfare

HAVING observed the recent ill-informed correspondence on the proposed Greyhound track at Towcester and concerns on welfare, I strongly believe the facts need to be correctly stated!

As a respected qualified animal physiotherapist for 41 years throughout Europe I can firmly state the British Racing Greyhound Board is without any doubt known worldwide as the leaders in promoting animal welfare, in fact I suggest the complainant goes to the BGRB great greyhound gathering held at Nottingham and talk to the many world class vets that judge the thousands of happy families and their retired greyhounds! Greyhound tracks and trainers kennels are DEFRA/BGRB/NGRC checked, and as for the disappearing dogs, that is impossible as each greyhound is micro-chipped and ear marked and registered by the BGRB.

I strongly suggest when going to a show or contributing to an animal charity that the organisers have no political agenda, have Defra standard kennels and are recognised by the BGRB.

The unqualified extreme views cost thousands of jobs, and grants to retired horse/greyhound charities and limited resources!

F Eastman, Padway Practice, Perth,

and D J North, Hinckley, Leics.

£30m price tag highly inflated

FURTHER to the headline in the Chronicle & Echo, February 25, £30m price tag for revamp; this price tag looks highly inflated.

It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the cost to include material, labour and the like. How many tenders were considered for this gold plated work?

As a supporter of Greyfriars I would like to know is what is the cost of the demolition of this bus station including the disruption of the town and its business community.

For the last 36 years Greyfriars has suffered neglect, all political parties responsible.

The councillors of these years may want to save face by making a donation to its renovations.

V Graham-Hole,

Elgin Street,

St James, Northampton.