National Express terminal in Northampton comes under fire for lack of facilities

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A ‘poorly planned’ National Express terminal in Northampton has come under fire once more as further calls were made for toilets and shelters on Victoria Street.

A Labour-tabled motion at Monday night’s full borough council meeting asked the Conservative-led authority to consider using part of the car park on the street for a “transit area, information board, disabled-friendly access and toilets for bus users.”

The 24-hour terminal, which consists of two small outdoor shelters, has been heavily criticised since it opened in March as part of the North Gate bus station development.

Speaking to the motion last week Alan Jones of the Northampton Bus User’ Group, said: “Quite what a visitor to Northampton thinks when they are decamped at Victoria Street, I am not sure.

“They might find their way to the town centre of they are lucky.

“But certainly we’ve got to do a lot more to make them welcome and to make them stay.”

Leader of the authority Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said that the council is preparing to introduce new toilet and taxi facilities at Victoria Street, which he said were ‘on order’ and ready to be implemented soon.

“We will listen to the bus users and try to improve the situation where we can,” he said.

But Councillor Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle) heaped pressure on the leader to make sure the work is done before winter arrives.

She said: “We have always stated that it is unacceptable that long distance passengers have to wait in the open air Victoria Street without any facilities. North Gate Bus Station lacks the capacity because of its design for these coaches so it is unrealistic to call for them to go there.

“The Council must develop proper facilities in Victoria Street to allow long distance passengers to wait in comfort. Standing and waiting in the open air with no proper amenities gives the wrong impression of the town.

“This problem has come about because of the incompetence of both County Council and Borough Council in designing North Gate Bus Station and the resulting impact on the public.”