Agreement to explore temporary use for Greyfriars site in Northampton

The Greyfriars site in 2015, weeks after the demolition of the old bus station
The Greyfriars site in 2015, weeks after the demolition of the old bus station

Northampton Borough Council is set to explore how the empty Greyfriars site could be put to temporary use.

The land has been vacant since the demolition of the former bus station in March 2015, and since then a number of potential schemes to redevelop it have fallen by the wayside.

Now the authority has agreed to ask a newly appointed consultant to ‘draw up options for the site to be brought into a temporary use as a matter of urgency for the public’s benefit’.

It comes after the motion from Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor Sally Beardsworth, was amended by the Conservative administration.

Councillor Beardsworth had previously said that temporary options for the site were ‘limitless’, and suggested schemes such as a running track, parkland and benches, and a bandstand could be implemented into the budget process.

But the Conservatives amended the motion calling for the newly-appointed consultant, who is looking at long-term options for the site, to also draw up some interim uses.

However, the motion warns that ‘whatever happens in the short-term must not be to the detriment of a long-term permanent development’.

The motion prompted a fierce debate at full council last night (November 5). It was not backed by Labour councillors, with Councillor Gareth Eales saying: “I’m frustrated that nothing is happening with Greyfriars, and that we’ve replaced it with something inferior.

"But it looks like a bomb site, and turning it into something temporarily will cost millions of pounds and is bloody pie in the sky.”

Council leader Jonathan Nunn did back the motion, along with the rest of his Conservative colleagues and the Lib Dems, but added: “We don’t want something or anything on Greyfriars.

"We want something really special, and while there are a whole bunch of circumstances stacked against that we will continue to do our best.”