Bus chief: North Gate streets are on knife edge

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Arrangements in place to prevent a repeat of congestion at North Gate bus station are extremely finely balanced, a bus company owner has claimed.

Derek Taylor, who owns Meridian Bus, which has one daily service to and from the station, said new traffic orders, which appear to have solved the traffic jams and delays of the first day, could be easily upset if only a handful of motorists acted illegally.

He said: “The new traffic orders in The Drapery [no deliveries between 10am and 4pm] are going to be very difficult to keep to.

“There are businesses up there, particularly the four banks, who can’t have deliveries during those times.

“It just takes a couple of vehicles to park in The Drapery or Sheep Street when they shouldn’t and it brings the whole system to a halt again.”

Mr Taylor said he was not satisfied with Northampton Borough Council’s level of consultation with bus companies.

He claimed he and others had expressed repeated concerns about the “insufficient size” of the North Gate bus station and the impact that having a push-button crossing near to a zebra crossing would have on traffic flow from The Drapery.

He also alleged the lack of a mirror had made the bus station vehicle entrance, in Greyfriars Road, a dangerous blind corner and a safety risk to buses reversing out of bay number 2.

Mr Taylor said: “In my opinion, it seems like the opening of the bus station was rushed through and any objections raised were dismissed.

“I felt that it was like it or lump it.”

Meanwhile, it is understood Northamptonshire County Council is looking into re-opening the former vehicle entrance to the Park Inn hotel car park in St Katherine’s Street. More than 150 vehicles leave the hotel car park and College Street every hour.

Other measures may include a two-lane exit from Sheep Street or making Bradshaw Street a one-way street towards The Drapery.

A spokeswoman for Northampton Borough Council said it had made short-term traffic improvements and was working on some longer-term ones. She added “There would be the necessary consultation before major changes, if any were to be considered. We have worked closely with the bus companies at all stages of this project and are grateful for their co-operation.”