Shopkeeper's £500k gift to the people of Northampton opens its doors

Bi[pin Patel has opened the Bipin Brook community centre - as a gift to the people of Ecton Brook.
Bi[pin Patel has opened the Bipin Brook community centre - as a gift to the people of Ecton Brook.

After three years of planning and after spending close to half-a-million pounds of his own money, a popular Northampton shopkeeper is hoping his new community centre will remain for a generation.

Northampton Borough Council sold the freehold of the former Ecton Brook Public House to Bipin Patel for use as a new community facility back in 2015.

More than 200 people turned out for the opening ceremony.

More than 200 people turned out for the opening ceremony.

This week the businessman, who runs the local post office, opened the doors of the new venture following a six figure refurbishment of the former watering hole.

More than 200 people attended the ribbon cutting of the Bipin Brook Community Centre on Saturday.

Mr Patel, said that after 30 years serving customers at the Post Office, he just wanted to give something back to the people of Ecton Brook.

"I'm happy to do something for the community," he said.

Bipin Patel: "I'mhappy to do something for the community."

Bipin Patel: "I'mhappy to do something for the community."

"These people come into my store and spend a lot of money."

The new facility, which cost around £500,000 to build, has two large rooms available for hire for a range of events, with a focus on hosting clubs for the older generation and young mums.

Even though Mr Patel, 55, has accepted that he may recoup the money he has already spent, he has even agreed to host wakes at the venue for free.

"I just think if someone has died in the family it is a bad time for them, they have been through enough," he said.

The dad-of-two, who grew up in Uganda before moving to Northampton in the 1980s, is applying for a wedding licence and is hoping to install a bar in the facility in the coming months.

"It will be half the price of any other wedding venue in Northampton and the beer will be cheaper," he added

"I want to pass this place on, I want this to stay here for years."

Mr Patel made the news back in spring when the Chron reported how he chased two knife-wielding robbers out of his Post Office.

Councillor Suresh Patel, (Con, New Duston) who has known Bipin and wife Dipika for several years, believes the couple have what it takes to make Bipin Brook work.

He said: "This will be great for the whole community.

"These sorts of facilities are so rare now.

"Bipin is a hard working person, he will make a great success there."