Northampton – Visits have to be Worthwhile
With the Queens Diamond Jubilee and Olympics Northampton this year has had a great opportunity to present its best face not only to the people who live here but those who have come to the town for perhaps the first time.
When the Olympic Torch passed through the Town the crowds were great and especially the number of school children who staff took to experience what may well be a once in a lifetime experience, though the way the games were put on who knows in another 60 years’ time we might see them again in the UK.
What was brought home to me last week when talking to residents in the Eastern District was one of the reasons they don’t visit the Town Centre, and not as you may expect the cost of car parking which is what always, or at least is given as one of the main reasons for the fall in people visiting the town, but the cost of public transport.
As the family I talked to explained adults have to pay £2.05 for a single ticket making the return journey by bus for both parents £8.10 and with three children the total comes to over £12, effectively meaning that a trip to Northampton would have to be worthwhile in terms of shopping and entertainment.
For families on the average take home pay and the rise in the cost of living especially housing and utilities for them to find £12 before doing anything else is prohibitive for many working families.
It means that the offer in Northampton, and the increase in the number of retail outlets that have closed in the past year is well documented, has to be worthwhile to attract local people back to the town centre.
People who live in the Eastern District of Northampton aren’t convinced of the value of visiting Northampton when they can get everything they need locally at the Weston Favell Centre or local convenience shops.
Perhaps a way forward is for the Borough and County Council to sit down with the Bus Companies and businesses to seriously consider how access to Northampton can be improved and made affordable to ordinary hard-working families