Saturday, 17 March 2018

Weekend Mixture (Part 1)

Northampton on the Naughty Step
fbb's former home town hit the national news headlines on Thursday, albeit briefly.
The County Council has been inspected ...
... and found wanting! Quite how a change from 2020 will help the finances for the next two years is unclear. Likewise, it is not clear how replacing two big councils with, erm, three big councils will ensure that Libraries do not close and bus services do not disappear.

And if the Secretary of State for Communities sends commissioners to run the existing councils, how will these improve things if the money has run out?

Meanwhile there is "trouble at 't'mill" over the too-small cloggage-creating North Gate Bus Station ...
... which has been a disaster since before it opened.

The local paper carried a lengthy report a day or so ago in which several Councillors (of all colours and loyalties) suggested that the whole idea was all wrong. Here are a few extracts.

On Monday night (12th March), opposition members on the borough council labelled North Gate Bus Station “an accident waiting to happen” in a joint-party call to improve safety around the station. Their motion at full council came after a bus parked in the station reportedly rolled into a barrier after its handbrake had been left off.

The motion was defeated, with all but one Conservative member on the borough, Councillor Sam Kilby-Shaw (Con, Obelisk), voting against the motion.
But a Conservative colleague on the county council took a different view during a debate at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting (13th March), the first time anyone on the North Gate project team has broken ranks to admit they got the location wrong.
Councillor Andre Gonzalez De Savage admitted: “It is in entirely the wrong place, which wasn’t of [the County Council’s] choosing. There is a serious problem with its location, I agree.”

The remark by Councillor Gonzalez De Savage, the cabinet member for economic growth, puts an end to the united front between the county and borough over North Gate.

In an interview with the paper yesterday, the councillor claimed the borough council was “fixated” on using the former Fish Market land on Sheep Street. He also maintains the facility should have been built on council land next to the town’s railway station.

“I did think it was going to be a bit of a squeeze. When I planted the time capsule [at North Gate] I remember saying to [then council leader] David Mackintosh, ‘this won’t stay as a bus station for too long’. I still think it could be a coach station. The congestion in Greyfriars is a mess.”

Councillor Gonzo (as he is sometimes known) ...
...obviously doesn't travel by bus. If he did, he would know that a bus station near the railway station is a potty idea; it is too far from the town centre shops.

But there is an ideal site for an excellent bus station just along the road from North Gate between Greyfriars and Lady's Lane.
If only fbb could remember what was there before the site was cleared.

But, with a change from multiple councils to two councils in the offing, it is good to see how well the present big guys work together.
Open mouth - insert foot : Correction and P.S..
The two proposed councils will be unitary authorities which does, of course, mean that Corby, Daventry, East Northants, South Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough district councils will also be abolished. In terms of cash savings, however, the district councils are not big spenders. Northampton Borough Council will still exist.

Megabus M16 - a P.S.
Thanks to comment writers who pointed out that, when the Norwich service terminates at Stratford, it will move from just outside the (not)International Station ...
... to Stratford City bus station. This is not what many of us know as Stratford Bus Station (without "City") ...
... as the map makes clear.
Stands A, B, C, D (and AP?) are the "traditional" bus station as pictured above. Stands S, T, U, W and stop X (which is opposite) ...
... combine to form the "City" bus station on the opposite side of the railway.
Additionally, the M16 is not actually operated by Stagecoach ...
... but under contract by Freestone's Coaches of Dereham.
The company has a substantial collection of posh motors.

And a Dubious Stratford Diagram
The dangers of diagrams is ably illustrated by the London Buses "spider" map at Stratford.
For people who know where they want to go and are broadly familiar with the "shape" of London, these plans can be of use. But for a stranger or a bemused visitor things are no so good.

Consider this little bit of the diagram.
Tottenham Court Road just west of Cambridge Heath?

Chancery Lane just west of Bethnal Green?

Holborn Circus just west of Shoreditch High Street?

Even Harry Beck's iconic Underground map didn't stretch credibility as far as this.

We'll Go For a P, Bob!
Last weekend fbb was enthusing about a new model railway locomotive, the South Eastern and Chatham Railway "P" class, of which only eight were ever built. The model features on the cover of the April edition of Railway Modeller.
Inside there is a full and very complimentary review of this delightful model, together with a further selection of pictures. To see this one in a larger size ...
... just click!

"Dashed clever these Chinese," is not a racially stereotype, but fact. the models are made in China from design work done by Hattons of Widnes.

Compare it with a Triang "Jinty" from the early 1960s and you will see that railway models have moved on just a tad.
The "P" does cost four times as much as the Jinty, taking inflation into account.

Morecambe Mistakes
Held over to tomorrow because of breaking news from Northampton.

 Next weekend Mixture : Sunday 18th March 


  1. I am frequently amused by the tortuous terminology used in naming district councils. But South Northamptonshire has got to be the best example. Is it anywhere near North Southampton, I wonder ?

  2. If the Northamtonshire is replaced by 2 unitary authorities then the Northamptonshire Borough Council would be abolished along with the other district councils.