Friday brief: Deprived Northampton area to lose community facility
Worrying update from local charity, news in brief from across the county and some things for the weekend
We hope you are all well and a little more comfortable now the temperatures have dropped. This week’s brief includes worrying news from two local charities, a community fighting to stop a busy road being built through their estate and details of a predicted overspend by North Northamptonshire Council.
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A charity serving the Bellinge area of Northampton will cease trading at the end of the month due to declining visitor numbers.
Bellinge Community House has offered a range of services to local people over the last 25 years but says more recently it has seen ‘little increase in local support from the community for the activities offered.’
The Index of Multiple Deprivation ranked Bellinge as the most deprived area of Northamptonshire in 2019.
Speaking to NN Journal chair of trustees David Brede explained that a number of issues have contributed to the situation.
“We had to restrict our services during Covid but since then there have also been security issues due to local crime so staff haven’t been working from the building unless an event is scheduled - the rest of the time they work from home.
“Historically the idea was that we would be open for people to just pop in as and when but that’s no longer possible. It’s also difficult to raise money from events - in other areas you could quite easily charge £5 for a family event but here people don’t have spare cash.”
The charity says it regrets that there will be an impact on the elderly groups who use the facility but that: “the charity can no longer support the needs of a few at a high financial cost in a time when charities like ours are under severe pressure due to reduced funding opportunities and dwindling cash reserves.”
The charity will return the lease to West Northamptonshire Council and is in talks with the authority and the local parish council to discuss possible options going forward.
News in brief
Desborough residents fighting a battle to stop a busy road going through through their housing estate will take their objections to the council chamber next week.
More than 150 residents from the Grange estate have signed an objection to the plan which will be considered on Monday at North Northamptonshire Council’s strategic planning committee.
Plans for 700 homes by builder Bellway Homes were approved years ago and Monday’s meeting is to decide the ‘reserved matters’. Residents say they were unaware of the decision made by the former Kettering Borough Council’s planning department in 2016 to allow the road to go through their estate and say it will see traffic increase from 20 an hour to more than 200 at busy times.
They say when they purchased their homes they understood that the road would not come through Rowan Close - which is currently a dead end and quiet cul-de-sac.
A number of unitary councillors and town councillors are supporting the residents and NN Journal will be reporting from the meeting next week.
North Northamptonshire Council is predicting a £4.2m overspend on its £300m annual budget. The bulk of the projected overspend is coming from the costs of the children’s services department, as the Northamptonshire Children’s Services Trust, is predicting an overspend of £7.9m. It says this is largely due to the financial cost of placements for looked after children. (Any overspend will be split between the North and West councils)
The figures have been revealed in the North authority’s period three budget statement and will be discussed further at the executive meeting held at Corby Cube next Thursday.
The council, which is led by local restaurant owner Cllr Jason Smithers, has already pulled just over £4m out of earmarked reserves and increased its budget in July this year after home to school transport costs were higher than budgeted for, a drop of commercial income from Knuston Hall and grounds maintenance and facilities management related to the Wellingborough Norse contract.
A food bank which offers help to thousands of people in Northampton is urgently seeking new premises after being given notice to leave from the shopping centre it currently operates from.
In 2018 the Weston Favell Shopping Centre allowed the food bank to temporarily use an empty retail unit as the charity was outgrowing its previous base at the Emmanuel Church.
The shopping centre says it now needs to make space for the growth of one of its ‘popular retailers’ and needs the unit back. The food bank has six weeks to relocate and is appealing for anyone with a suitable site (preferably on the Eastern side of Northampton) for storing and distributing food to get in touch by contacting Denise Kennedy on 07513034256.
🎉The anti-knife group Off The Streets is holding a community event at Rushden Hall Park on Saturday. There will be live music, a variety of stalls, a bouncy castle and arts and crafts. The event is running between 12-5pm and entry is free
🐑 The Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen will be at Chester Farm tomorrow. Book tickets to hear her speak and enjoy a range of other family activities. https://chesterhouseestate.merlintickets.co.uk/product/EVE-RURALDAYOUT
🍔The popular food festival Bite Street is on at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton across the weekend. Check their website for details https://www.bitestreet.co.uk/