Greyfriars – Bus Station to Bus Station?

A future use for Greyfriars site?
A future use for Greyfriars site?

UPDATE. 24 February 2015

When it comes to excuses and misleading the public, this thoroughly dishonest Conservative Council led by Cllr David Mackintosh have once again been caught out. So it’s going to be a Coach Interchange Hub – not a Bus Station then.
Original blog On 4th March last year was derided as nonsense by Cllrs Mackintosh and Hadland.
Hate to say I told you so, and the cost has now escalated by over 20% as well
And so Councillor Mackintosh, “Who exactly did you say cannot be trusted”?

UPDATE. 1 August 2014

The statement but Cllr Hadland at the last Borough Council meeting that the Greyfriars site could be used as a ‘Transport Hub’ seems to suggest my post of 4th March which was derided by the Northampton Conservatives as ridiculous may well have not been far from the reality.

Greyfriars – Bus Station to Bus Station?

I won’t repeat previous observations but as we see the final closure of the Greyfriars Bus Station paving the way for its demolition a number of things spring to mind.

I also won’t comment on the chaos and gridlock in the town centre yesterday when the New Northgate “fit for purpose” bus station opened.

The first of course is how much is it going to cost to demolish the bus station that we are told will be in the region of £4.5 million which I presume included the removal of the recently ‘found’ considerable amount of asbestos.

It has also to be taken into account that a loan of £4.5 million may well cost nearer £9 million in repayments.

I’m pretty sure that when the contract was awarded by the Northampton Conservatives they will have provided all of the drawings etc. needed for the competing companies to assess the scale of the job and that the drawings would be very clear about the asbestos content.

Or at least I would have hoped that as any responsible organisation they provided the information and there won’t be unexpected and from experience very expensive ‘variations of contract’ suddenly appear.

Whatever happens the tax payer has a large bill to pick up and especially if Legal and General pull out of extending the Grosvenor Centre altogether.

A second thought is what the site will be used for in two years’ time when the demolition has been completed.

Yes I know the Conservatives are saying it will take 18 months but I’ll wager it takes longer.

Cllr Hadland the Cabinet Member responsible, and let’s hope that unlike the Abington Street contract he has looked at the Greyfriars contract before awarding it, was very clear in answering a question I put to him at the Borough Council that

“We have plans for the development of the site if Legal and General don’t go ahead”

The worry of course is that he refused to reveal what the definite alternate plans for the site are, and I suspect it is because they don’t really exist, and he can’t explain how or whether Legal and General who have the rights to use the site have agreed.

This is where a little speculation comes about as to what could a flat site be used for?

The current location of the Express Coaches site is not really that good and is separated from the Town Centre so perhaps a solution would be to move them to the Site and call it the Northampton “Coach Interchange”.

The erection of glass covered areas for passengers to wait for the coaches would be needed but shouldn’t be insurmountable?

Passengers would be able to easily access the town centre shops and Grosvenor Centre.

The site as we know would accommodate the coaches and perhaps also be used to lay coaches overnight for whom an income from the companies could be received into the Borough Council coffers?

If, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t, the experiment of placing over 40% of the bus services in the Drapery leads to a decline in bus users who are not prepared to wait in the open and subject to the variations in the weather especially in the winter then there may be a solution.

Erect covered areas on the Greyfriars site and have the bus services leave from there where passengers can shelter in the Grosvenor Centre, increasing the footfall and if the correct bus service signage is provided they can just as in an airport make their way to the bus when it arrives at the site.

Wouldn’t it be a turn up for the book if the Northampton Conservatives spend between £4.5 million and £9 million to demolish the Greyfriars Bus Station in order to replace it with the Greyfriars Coach Station; Bus Interchange or even Northgate Stage Two?

There will given their past record of incompetence in the way they have awarded contracts be continuing speculation and scepticism of the Northampton Borough Conservatives until they come clean about their “definite plans for the site” and the situation regarding the position of Legal and General.