DIARY: Adshel bus stop gives students shelter from storms (but little else)

If anyone driving through Northampton recently has passed a group of emaciated individuals whose hairy beards could rival the masterpiece sprouting from the dignified chin of Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters' Gary Duckworth, they could well have been speeding past the unfortunate people caught waiting for an elusive bus at the only bus stop in the land which serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

Although readers will be familiar with the concept of certain sadistic bus drivers who display an irritating penchant for driving right past bus stops despite frantic gesticulations from waiting passengers , at this bus stop the driver is allowed - and indeed has little choice - to drive on by.

Yes, the route that originally went past said bus shelter was withdrawn in April - but, for some unfathomable reason, no-one bothered taking it down.

Because, in a move which takes the idea of street furniture to rather unnecessary levels, the shelter has been left up by Clear Channel's outdoor media division, Adshel, for the sole purpose of advertising to the good people of Northampton - who, quite understandably, are bemused by the whole affair.

Six months on from the discontinuation of the bus route servicing the stop, a spokesman for Northampton Borough Council defended the shelter's existence, and insisted that some university students would use it while waiting for private coaches. Er, right. But in those rare moments when the students aren't queuing up to catch a coach to go on a protest march or a field trip to some caves, what possible other use could there be for it?

Well, it doubtless makes a delightful folly for doing up shoe laces in the rain ... or, perhaps, for a romantic post-pub tryst with a loved one.

That said, the shelter in question is more likely to spend most of its time either confusing the town's elderly, or acting as a social club and al fresco lavatory for tramps.

Adshel sources say it will cost £3,000 to move the bus stop. So, looks like it's a pretty safe bet that it'll still be there in a year's time, then.


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