Opposition boss is not sure Northampton 'high street of the year' renovation was worth the Â£3 million
A Â£3 million renovation of St Giles Street in Northampton is not the "silver bullet" to save the town - the opposition party says - and work hasn't finished six weeks early as claimed either.
The leader of the Labour group at Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Danielle Stone, said she has been left feeling underwhelmed by the improvements to the town's award winning high street, described as the "hidden gem" of Northampton by the cabinet member for regeneration.
Though new planters and lighting are yet to be installed and it is still to be pressure washed, Councillor Stone says the current works supposedly completed six weeks early, add little to the street scene.
Businesses down there have had to put up with six months of disruption while the paths there were widened and the road resurfaced.
Speaking to the Chronicle & Echo, she said: “While St Giles is looking better, I’m not sure whether it was worth the £3 million, to be honest.
"It is certainly not going to be a silver bullet that revives the fortunes of our town centre."
But the opposition leader has also disputed the claim the works have "finished" early as there will undoubtedly be some disruption while the planters and lighting are installed.
The parking bays - though at the legal limit, will have to be repainted as they were considered too thin to park a car in.
"The borough council has embarrassed themselves by claiming that they have finished six weeks early when clearly they have not," said the Labour group leader.
"They themselves acknowledge they have to paint the bays again and then hydro blast the entire road. Before claiming to be ahead of schedule they should have finished the job completely first.”
Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, Councillor Tim Hadland, said the council shared all of its development plans for St Giles Street with businesses there last year and spoke to them on a weekly basis until the works were completed, six weeks ahead of schedule.
“We have achieved our aim of creating a better environment for shoppers, with wider pavements to replace the old ones which were too narrow in some places for two people to pass. “Although painted within the legal limits, we recognise that the parking bays on the street are slightly too narrow and need improving in order to make parking easier for visitors. To minimise the disruption, contractors will be redrawing the lines for the bays after trading hours and on the same day that the road surface was scheduled to be hydro-blasted.”