A deal to enable the redevelopment of land around the Sixfields football stadium in Northampton has finally been agreed.
The deal, which was backed by Northampton Borough Council’s leading cabinet on Wednesday night, will see the council, the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and Northampton Town FC bring forward plans for the redevelopment of a large piece of land, stretching from the football club right up to Weedon Road.
Speaking during a meeting at the Guildhall, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Tim Hadland (Con, Old Duston) said: “This is a real step forward for the town and for the football club.”
He was backed by fellow cabinet member, Councillor Brandon Eldred (Con, East Hunsbury) who added: “As a Cobblers supporter, this is great news for us and I’m looking forward to it.”
The leader of the opposition at the Guildhall, Councillor Terry Wire (Lab, St James) also gave his backing to the move.
He said: “it will be good to see a revamped Cobblers stadium, as well as the surrounding area.”
Only the leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group, Councillor Sally Beardsworth (Lib Dem, Kingsthorpe) sounded a note of caution about the proposals.
She said: “I just have one reservation and that’s about including more retail at Sixfields, because we don’t want to impact on our deal with Legal & General to expand the Grosvenor Centre.
“I’m worried that if we carry on with out-of-town retail developments, we’re going to destroy the town centre.
“A hotel is a good idea, I’ve no problem with that, it’s the retail I think we need to be very careful about.”
It is believed the development around Sixfields could include shops, offices and a hotel, with money form the scheme going to both the football club and the council.
The leader of the council, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said he did not believe a small element of retail development at Sixfields would harm the town.
He said: “I believe this is a positive step forward. We have a commitment to improve the town centre, but that should not be at the expense of other schemes across the town.”
The development would see both the athletics complex and recycling centre at Sixfields closed and redeveloped.
Before any work began however, new athletics facilities would be built elsewhere in the town.
Cobblers’ chairman, David Cardoza, has said he expects a full planning application for the redevelopment of the Sixfields area to be submitted next year.