‘Use homes bonus to build bus shelter’, Northampton Labour group will propose tonight

Former mayor Councillor Les Marriott is to unveil ammendments to the borough councuil's budget tonight.
Former mayor Councillor Les Marriott is to unveil ammendments to the borough councuil's budget tonight.

Labour councillors are to propose creating a bus shelter for Drapery bus passengers in Northampton as part of an alternative budget plan due to go before the borough council tonight.

Northampton Borough Council is set to determine its budget for the forthcoming financial year during a meeting at the Guildhall at 6.30pm.

The Conservative-controlled authority is due to rubber stamp plans to save £2.5 million in 2015/16 , with £1.2 million coming imposing new terms and conditions for staff.

Tonight however, the borough’s Labour Group will propose less of a cut to spending by making three amendments, which it says “will tackle the problems that have been ignored by the current Tory administration at the Guildhall.”

As part of that, leader of the group Councillor Les Marriott (Lab, Semilong) is to suggest the council takes more from the its pot of reserves and around £230,000 from a recent New Homes Bonus to fund a pilot scheme to introduce lids for blue and green recycling boxes in the Abington area. He also wants a new council-funded credit union and a bus shelter for passengers waiting for buses at Drapery.

On the bus shelter proposals, he said: “This winter bus users have had to wait in the Drapery braving the poor weather conditions, whereas last year they were inside and warm in Greyfriars.

“This cannot continue. We therefore propose to provide funds for the conversion of an empty shop unit in the Drapery to use as a proper waiting area which provides comfortable seats and most importantly is warm.

“Our proposal to provide a transit lounge, we are confident, will prove popular.”

The transit lounge, Labour says would cost around £400,000 to implement.

Meanwhile the credit union plan would cost £22,000 to set up.

Councillor Marriott said such a move would help those “struggling with the imminent welfare reform changes and poverty more generally” to benefit form monetary advice, low interest rate loans and savings accounts - and would also help steer people clear of borrowing from loan sharks.

A pilot scheme to fund lids for blue and green recycling boxes in the Abington area would cost £40,000.

Councillor Marriott said the lids would stop litter being blown out of the recycling boxes on collection days. If the trial in Abington is successful it would be rolled out across the borough.

However he said the Labour group will not be proposing that the authority raises council tax this year.

The council’s budget setting meeting starts at 6.30pm tonight in the council chamber at the Guildhall.

The authority will need to vote in favour of Labour’s amendments for them to be adopted in the 2015/16 budget.