Plans to create a new transport hub on the site of Northampton’s old bus station are an admission the new bus station is not fit for purpose, according to opposition councillors.
Last week, Northampton Borough Council revealed it was working on a “concept plan” for the Greyfriars site which included a new facility for national coaches to replace the existing service in Victoria Street which has been heavily criticised.
But Labour councillor Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle) described the transport policy of the Conservatives as “half-baked”.
She said: “The suggestion that part of the Greyfriars site may have to act as a small transport hub is an admission by Northampton Conservatives that their much cherished North Gate bus station is not fit for purpose.
“I have no real idea what a concept plan is and there is no indication of how much it will cost the Borough Council. Will it mean more borrowing because if so it’s not in this year’s budget?
“Councillor Mackintosh was repeatedly warned that his plans for building a new bus station on the Fish Market site were, at best, half-baked and ill-thought trough. He deliberately ignored bus users’ opinions, professional judgement and political advice, because he thought he knew best.
“Victoria Street is an unsuitable place for coach passengers to wait as there are no proper facilities. The relocation of the University and Project Angel will bring more people into the town centre area and, at present, North Gate Bus Station simply can’t cope with any additional pressures.
“Having a small transport hub, as the Tories call it, show they were wrong from the start in terms of the design of Northgate. Now it seems they will have to borrow more money to make amends for their mistakes. Had they listened to Labour politicians from the start this could have been avoided,” she said.
Speaking last week, Councillor David Mackintosh said: “Greyfriars offers a stunning opportunity for future regeneration in the town centre as part of our ongoing Northampton Alive strategy, which has already brought a number of significant developments to the town.
“We have already had interest in the site from a number of developers and it is important that we have expert advice on the options for the site so that we make the best possible decisions for the future.”
The commissioning of a concept plan will be discussed at a meeting of Northampton Borough Council Cabinet on Wednesday March 4. The former bus station will be demolished on Sunday March 15.