Readers View: January 3

First Bus service needs to improve

Brian Binley MP has accused London Midland of treating Northampton as a “hick town” (Chronicle & Echo, December 13-19), but that company, for all its faults, does offer passengers modern rolling stock.

Compare this with what we are being offered by First Bus. Our “new” (2002) single-deck buses have all been shipped off to Norwich and in return we have been sent vehicles dating back to 1998. With double-deck buses the situation is even worse, as apart from two 2005 vehicles all are more than 20 years old.

How different to the approach of Stagecoach, which continues to bring six to 12 new buses to the area every year to replace older vehicles.

It is an open secret in the bus industry that First Group is wanting to sell off Northampton and other companies that do not fit into their future plans. Frankly such a sale, which inevitably will benefit the people of Northampton, cannot come soon enough.

Councillor Michael Hill

(Conservative, Nene Valley)Rushy End, Northampton


Mismatch in bus sizes on routes

I recently moved from one house on the eastern district to another, unaware of the differences of this bus service. It soon became apparent to me that it resembled a dart board in the fact that for the number 16 service you have to get a double or the number 1 service, which you only require a single.

While standing in inclement weather at the Weston Favell centre, you soon realise the infrequency of the number 1 service,which when it does appear, is always full often with old people standing. However, the double decker number 16s parade past us in all their glory sometimes completely empty or at best not even 25 per cent full!

Surely even to the most unobservant this indicates planning at its worst. Do the passengers on the number 1 route not qualify for double decker buses whilst the number 16 buses regularly run mainly empty and economically unsound?

I think Stagecoach should redress the balance. It is madness to run this respective service this way. Stagecoach customers deserve and expect better than this.

Mr SL Day



Forget about house values in HS2 debate

A recent survey by the Department for Transport shows no less than 30 per cent of the top most overcrowded trains in the entire UK are on the Euston to Northampton line. It’s no surprise to commuters between London and Northampton, who pay huge ticket prices for the privilege of standing both ways in grossly overcrowded trains. And it has been like this since the 1970s when I started commuting. That’s in spite of upgrades to the line.

Tory MP for South Northamptonshire, Andrea Leadsom, obviously cares only for her rural constituents when she takes a prominent role in the campaign against HS2, the proposed high speed line from Euston to Birmingham.

Building HS2 is the only possible way to improve west coast line services from Northampton.

Mrs Leadsom’s anti-HS2 campaign is focused on a handful of people who are worried that their house price might fall because of HS2. What about the workers?

Shaun Hope

Treasurer, Northampton Rail Users’ Group


When will they realise it is crazy?

Was Councillor David Mackintosh present in Greyfriars Bus Station in the run-up to Christmas, to see the large crowds, and the late-running buses struggling to access the right bay? (I think we could guess the answer to that one!) Had he been there, would he have realised the folly of trying to shoehorn about 75 per cent of passengers into an edifice about one-tenth the area of Greyfriars? Would he have recognised the unfairness of forcing the other 25 per cent of bus users to form long queues in The Drapery, possibly in rain or snow?

We probably know the answer to those questions too – his scheme is wonderful, and he is deaf to anything else. When is someone who matters going to have the courage to say to the council “this scheme is crazy”? Stagecoach and First bosses – this means you!

David Johnson,

Druids Way, Northampton


No vote to new council is a mistake

I write in reply to the letter in the Chronicle & Echo, December 13, 2012, Working for a good area, Colin Bricher.

This gentleman has an interesting view on my letter. Shall we say the minorities have spoken, 50 yes and 288 no, to a parish council for the area of St James End.

I take it that the yes votes made up their own minds, while the no votes were influenced by outside forces.

There is no suggestions that Messrs Connolly and Croucher do other than work hard in their roles for residents’ association. I have no wish to be involved therefore do not attend.

The fact we will not have a parish council is a loss to St James End. They would have been elected by us and accountable to us.

I hope this will qualify my position to Mr Bricher. It’s a shame we haven’t more people in our area with the interest he has.

V Graham-Hole

Elgin Street, St James End, 


My letter of protest on gay marriage

I agree entirely with Kevin Corcoran’s letter captioned ‘Christian faith is under attack’ in Thursday December 20, 2012 edition of the Chronicle and Echo.

In March this year I wrote to the Prime Minister David Cameron regarding the proposal to allow gay marriage stating why constitutionally this Act should not go ahead. In my letter to Mr Cameron I stated the following:

“I am not sure whether you have taken into consideration the implications and consequences of forcing this Act through Parliament.

You will be expecting Her Majesty the Queen to sign this Act of Parliament in the knowledge that Her Majesty holds very dear to her heart the status of marriage. At her Coronation Her Majesty vowed to uphold the Christian faith and values; in fact she is Defender of the Faith. Homosexual marriage is clearly against the teachings of the Christian faith and of other faiths.

By expecting Her Majesty to sign this Act of Parliament you will be putting Her Majesty in an impossible position. As head of the Church of England Her Majesty must protect the Christian faith and not sign this Act. If Her Majesty does not sign the Act, this would cause a Constitutional crisis. Do you really want to cause such mayhem and unhappiness?

The Christian faith is our country’s heritage and should be upheld and protected. You will offend many traditional Christian Conservatives by the stance you are taking.

I therefore implore you to retract this Bill and to remove it from the House of Commons business.”

I do wonder whose agenda the Prime Minister is following.

Christine Thompson



Wasted trips to pick up 
my parcel

Is the following experience with postal services in Northampton exceptional or are there similar things going on?

I had a card through my letterbox on December 6 telling me they had been unable to deliver because it was too large. I phoned and arranged to collect it from my local post office (Kingsthorpe).

I queued up on Monday but no parcel. While I was out another card was put through my letterbox saying a second attempt had been made to deliver it. I phoned and was told the parcel would be at Kingsthorpe Post Office on Wednesday December 12.

I queued again on Wednesday – no parcel. I phoned to be tole they had re-arranged delivery to Kingsthorpe Post Office on Thursday the 13th.

On my way to the post office on the 13th I fortunately met my regular postman who had the parcel, he was delivering it to my house. If I had not met him on the way I would have queued needlessly again.

The parcel has various stickers for redelivery to my address but no instructions to deliver to Kingsthorpe Post Office. On all three occasions they expected me to go and collect the parcel from my local post office but had never made any such arrangement.

Dr Thomas C Welsh

Kingsthorpe, Northampton


No festive cheer in latest NGH pay slip

Last night my wife came home from work at NGH absolutely steaming. She had received her December pay notice, inside which there was a section entitled ‘Management Information’.

Now, wouldn’t you have thought that any management worth its sort might have used that section as a timely opportunity to thank their staff for the splendid work they had done throughout the year under testing times and without any increases in remuneration for the fourth year on the trot, and to wish them the compliments of the season? Silly me, instead what did they get...a curt instruction not to abuse the sickness system at NGH! Apparently up to 200 staff are away on a ‘sickie’ at any one time. Could it be that the insensitivity of the management might have contributed to staff frustrations that might have been partly to blame for some of these staff absenteeisms? Surely it would have been better ‘management’ if the inappropriate message had been addressed to the departmental managers whose staff are abusing the system rather than tarring all staff with the same brush. Most of the staff perform their roles with diligence and efficiency and do not deserve this insensitive heavy handed style of (mis)management.

Name and address supplied


Humbling performance by students

On Monday December 17 I was privileged to attend Wollaston School, this time to a dance production entitled “On The West Side”, inspired by the musical “West Side Story” (story telling through dance movement).

Lead roles were shared amongst the cast – Marias, Tonys, Jets and Sharks etc.

To all those involved, cast, backstage helpers, lighting etc etc, I feel humbled. Thank you.

Brenda Chillingsworth and family

Berry Close, Earls Barton


Other ideas to create new housing

Yet again Northampton Borough Council has announced that it’s taking some 5,500 people off the immediate housing list due to actions from central government policies. NBC has sufficient empty properties within the borough which can be compulsorily purchased from the “absent private sector landlord” realm or from converting a whole draft of empty middle schools which had been sold off to developers a few years ago.

I put basically the following concept to WNDC, NBC and NCC. Buy them then convert them into housing stock with playing fields being turned into allotments. By properly utilising local building firms to convert the schools, entrepreneurs will be able to kick-start the local industry ahead of the politicians. There are numerous empty office units immediately around the Market Square, St Giles Street 
and St Peter’s Church in Mayfair.The Innovation Centre which is planned to be near the railway station has yet to take off and is only expected to be a fifth of the whole area with some 3,000 computer technologists to be based there.

A D Hiam

Rillwood Court, Lumbertubs, Northampton