Northampton rail station's £200K name plan attacked

Artist's impression of new Northampton railway station Image copyright West Northamptonshire Development Corporation
Image caption The station is currently undergoing a £20m revamp

A £200,000 plan to change Northampton railway station's name to "reflect its heritage" has been branded a "shocking" way to "squander taxpayers' money".

The Conservative-led county council plans to change the station name from Northampton to Northampton Castle.

Labour opposition councillors said Network Rail informed them it would cost £200,000 for new signs and maps.

A council spokesman said they were still discussing the cost with Network Rail but intended to make the changes.

Image copyright other
Image caption The new name is intended to reflect the fact the station is built on the castle site

The new name for the station, which is currently undergoing a £20m refurbishment scheme to double its size, would reflect the fact it is built on the site of the town's former castle, council leader Jim Harker said.

"It is apparent... that the people of Northampton know their station as Northampton Castle and I am pleased that the council is able to arrange for this important piece of our heritage to be recognised," he said.

John McGhee, leader of the council's Labour group, said: "It's shocking that Northamptonshire Tories want to squander taxpayers' money on a railway station name change.

"Quite clearly we want to celebrate our county's heritage and the significance of Northampton Castle, but there are far more cost-effective ways of doing this."

In a statement, Network Rail said: "Changes [to names] can include updating announcements at stations and on trains, creating new signage for the station and route, plus redesigning and producing new travel maps.

"Some of these costs would be borne by Network Rail as the owner and operator of the railway infrastructure and some by London Midland, which manages Northampton station... however, funding is needed via third parties for ideas of this nature to progress."

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