Friday brief: Cobblers Supporters Trust hits out at council over land deal
Plus renovation of Kettering's oldest residential building on the cards and news from Westminster
West Northamptonshire Council has been accused of not "fulfilling its moral obligations" to the people of Northampton, the supporters of Northampton Town Football Club and future generations of fans in its proposed Sixfields land deal.
Last week the authority arranged an extraordinary meeting to discuss the options for selling land adjacent to the Sixfields stadium which it owns the freehold to. The leasehold is owned by CDNL (a subsidiary of the football club) who have long wanted to develop the land.
After long negotiations between the two parties CDNL agreed a provisional deal with the council which would see them purchase the land from the council for £890,000 conditional on the club completing the East Stand within five years.
Despite a much higher offer of £2m from another company Cilldara Limited, the council favours the bid from CDNL due to complexities within the lease it already has with the company.
However the football club’s supporters trust has hit out at the proposals saying that it appears West Northamptonshire Council is intent on “washing its hands” of the football club with “a quickfire” deal.
The trust says although fans want to see the East Stand finally completed this should not be the only condition of the sale.
“This appears to be the only substantive condition the council is attaching to the right of CDNL, which is owned by the football club, to buy the land in question. We do not consider that this demonstrates the council fulfilling its moral obligations to the people of Northampton, the supporters of the football club and future generations of fans.
“Sixfields stadium and its surrounding land is a community-owned asset and should be treated, and safeguarded, as such. There should be a duty of care exercised by the council to the club but we consider the land deal currently proposed does not provide the club with any lasting protection.
“…This deal might be attractive to the owners but we believe it offers no continuing investment benefit to the club beyond the completion of the stand.”
News in brief:
Kettering’s oldest surviving residential building, Sawyer’s Almhouses, which dates back to 1688, could be renovated. North Northamptonshire Council has been approached by the Almhouses Association and Historic England about the poor state of the building on Sheep Street. The authority is now proposing to extend the town’s existing High Street Heritage Fund so that the building can benefit from the funding available for the area. A decision will be made at the executive meeting on Tuesday (Jan 22).
An amber weather warning is in place for the county this morning as Storm Eunice hits. The MET office is warning of strong gusts with possible traffic disruption and building damage so people are being advised to venture out only if they need to. Northampton market will be closed today due to the expected weather.
The Dylan Holliday murder trial will start on Monday at Northampton Crown Court. A 16 and a 17 year old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will face a jury.
Dylan, 16, was killed in a knife attack on the Queensway estate in Wellingborough last August. He was the second Northamptonshire teen to die at the hands of a knife last summer following the May murder of Rayon Pennycock in Corby.
The Oundle by-election took place yesterday and the ballot count is due to happen this morning in Kettering. The by-election was called after absent councillor Annabell Capell Brooke stood down following our exclusive story about her poor attendance and allowance claims. We will keep readers updated throughout the morning on our twitter feed @nnjournalism and members will receive a full report with an extra email on Saturday.
Michael Ellis MP for Northampton North is a contender to be the government’s ministerial lead on corruption, according to Business Insider. The website is reporting that Boris Johnson’s recent reshuffle has left the position open with Ellis, assistant whip Heather Wheeler and Jacob-Rees Mogg all reportedly in the running.
Lord Agnew the former minister for efficiency and transformation previously had the corruption brief before quitting last month over the government’s handling of fraudulent Covid business loans.
Independent of the week
Bakes by Hand is an independent patisserie in Wilbarston near Corby. Each week owner and baker Chris posts her menu on her Facebook page with orders available for collection. From flavoured focaccia to cinnamon rolls, and tea cakes there should be something on there to suit all tastes.
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👏 There’s a huge amount on offer at the Liberty Arts Festival taking place in Corby tomorrow. Organised by Made with Many you can find out about all the performances which take place from 10am to 10pm, many of which are free here
🎙 Popular local reggae artist Colm Lyons is performing at The Red Lion in Rothwell from 8pm tomorrow
🎭There are still a few tickets available for the hit musical SIX at the Derngate. https://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whats-on/six/
🎦 The history of Corby’s Shout! Youth Theatre is being shown at the Savoy Theatre in Corby in two special free screenings on Sunday. Performances are at 2pm and 5.30pm and afterwards there will be a discussion of if and how things have changed for the town’s young people since the late 1990s
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