Demolition of Bus Station – Will It Happen?
When Cllr Tim Hadland the Cabinet Member responsible for the Northampton Town Centre regeneration announced in the Chronicle and Echo that the demolition of the Grey Friars Bus Station would definitely start early in 2014 there were many who immediately responded with a time weary,
Oh no here we go again, some of course especially those who remain overly optimistic whatever their thoughts and views on the bus station took the view that at least it was an unambiguous and definitive statement from the man who should be in the know.
Perhaps those pessimists are going to be proved to have been the more sensible in their reactions because when asked what the timetable for the demolition and cost was going to be the Leader of the Borough Council, Cllr David Mackintosh (Conservative) admitted that,
“I don’t have a timetable but a detailed timetable will be available in the New Year following discussions with Legal and General”
and then when asked who would pay for it said,
“We don’t know how much it will cost and how it will be paid for, this will be a part of our discussions with Legal and General”.
Which begs the question why on earth did Cllr Hadland say it will be demolished in 2014 without any business plan, costing’s or not only knowledge of how it would be paid for but what impact it will have on the town centre during demolition?
It also raises a number of other questions,
What happens if Legal and General which given their past record pull out again and has to be a real possibility given the increasing decline in the Town Centre and record number of vacant properties?
How will the recently announced Legal and General investment in Sixfields affect their decision around the regeneration of the Grosvenor Centre?
Isn’t the demolition of Greyfriars putting all of Northampton’s regeneration eggs firmly in one basket called Legal and General with the distinct possibility that they’ll stick a label on it saying ‘Store Away until Required’?
How will the lengthy demolition of the Bus Station impact on the availability of the Grosvenor Car Park and who will pay Legal and General for any loss of income?
What will the impact be of the lengthy demolition of the bus station on the current traders in the Grosvenor Centre and will the NBC be responsible for compensation to those who lose business?
If Legal and General don’t go ahead with the Grosvenor regeneration what will the Borough Council do with what will be a vacant plot in the centre of the town?
The biggest problem is that after years of criticising others for making non-starter announcements and talking tough followed by a year of capitulation and policy reversal the public’s confidence in the Northampton Conservatives has ebbed away.
Most damaging is that the people in Northampton now believe that there isn’t the ‘political commitment’ to Northampton and that their only interest is self-interest and a policy of handing Northampton over to their Conservative friends on the County Council now that they have abandoned their long-held policy of supporting Unitary Status for Northampton.
Labour remains committed to Northampton and the people of Northampton and will put the town before political party dogma and put Northampton first.