Developer previously named as wanting to build on Sixfields Stadium land says it would not have built housing on the site

Developers Henley Homes are in the running to develop land around Sixfields - but the firm says the timescale is tough.
Developers Henley Homes are in the running to develop land around Sixfields - but the firm says the timescale is tough.

One of the firms previously named as hoping to cut a deal for the land around Sixfields Stadium says its plans did not include building homes on the 33-acre site.

Henley Homes was named earlier this month as one of the potential developers of the land surrounding the Northampton Town ground. It is understood Henley Homes is one of a number of developers also interested in taking on the rights to build on the site.

Those rights were owned by football club chairman David Cardoza and his father Anthony until last week when their company, County Developments (Northampton) Limited was wound up for unpaid debts.

Northampton Borough Council, which is considering legal action against Cobblers for an unpaid £10.25 million loan, has previously said the outstanding debt would only be paid back to them if that land - which the authority owns - could be developed.

But a court case on November 16 could see Northampton Town Football Club wound up by the taxman for £166,000 of missed payments.

It means time is ticking for any deal to be signed.

The land around Sixfields has planning permission for a retail park, conference centre, a hotel and up to 255 homes. The outline permission currently comes with a caveat that any developer would contribute £2.2 million worth of “section 106” improvements to the town.

As the land was previously a refuse dump - the site would need expensive remediation works to make it safe to build on and has been subject to a 600-page-plus toxicology report in the past, which found traces of methane and potentially harmful substances there.

Tariq Usmani, chief executive of Henley Homes, said if his firm did win the development rights, it would not build houses.

He said: “We have a very detailed understanding of what that site is.

“We’ve been speaking about what is viable and what’s not. It depends what you are hoping to building on there - but can it be housing? Definitely not. It would be too expensive.

“I don’t think anybody ever really believed it could be suitable for housing,” he added.

Mr Usmani said Henley Homes would, it if got the deal, look at light industrial and retail uses for the site.

He claimed the deal for land was “inextricably linked” with the sale of the club and that issues resolved around the club’s debts.

“The council wants its money back, I understand that,” he said.

“How that happens sits between the land and the club. One thing is certain, the club must survive.”