Chairman of Northampton Labour says 2014 was a “year of embarrassment” for the town

Gareth Eales
Gareth Eales

The chairman of the Northampton Labour party says that “only someone who is living in a bubble” could describe 2014 as a good year for the town.

On Tuesday, Councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, released a New Year’s message in which he summed up the last 12 months as a “year of growth”.

In response, borough councillor Gareth Eales (Lab, Spencer) highlighted the “debacle” over the sale of the Egyptian statue Sekhemka and the opening of the new bus station as “causes for embarrassment”.

He said: “Only someone who is living in a bubble or is seriously deluded could describe 2014 as being a good year for Northampton. The disastrous multi-million pound wastage on vanity projects such as the opening of Abington Street to traffic and the inferior Northgate Bus Station with all its traffic congestion, are a cause for embarrassment not celebration or rejoice.

“Also the debacle over the sale of the Sekhemka statue and the subsequent loss of accreditation for the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is shameful.

“Ask the general public what they think about these things and they will be sure to tell you loud and clear.”

Councillor Mackintosh’s positive look back at the past 12 months was also not shared by leader of the borough’s Liberal Democrat group Councillor Sally Beardsworth (Lib Dem, Kingsthorpe) who said his message was “nauseating self-congratulation.”

She said: “I’m not happy with some of these so-called achievements - I don’t think Abington Street can be classed as an achievement - it’s just another way of leaving the town centre, when we should be encouraging people to come in.”

Leader of the Labour group at the borough council, Councillor Les Marriott, (Lab, Semilong) was less scathing, saying: “Clearly Northampton is in a good position, but I can’t say that is entirely down to the Conservative administration.”