Northampton neighbourhood 'overjoyed' at £250k plans to transform their community centre using compensation payout

Rectory Farm Community Centre could be set for a 250,000 renovation.
Rectory Farm Community Centre could be set for a 250,000 renovation.

A Northampton neighbourhood was 'overjoyed' last night to hear their community centre could be set for a £250,000 renovation.

Plans have been announced to overhaul Rectory Farm Community Centre and give the 'worn-out' hall a full refurbishment.

The plans include a new 75 metre squared hall and an outdoor terrace.

The plans include a new 75 metre squared hall and an outdoor terrace.

The face lift, which was announced at a residents' association meeting yesterday (January 22), could include a new kitchen, a second 75 square metre hall and even a mezzanine office for a future parish council.

The quarter-of-a-million-pound renovation will be funded in part by a £100,000 compensation payout by Hawthorn Leisure to the council over the conversion of the Barn Owl pub into a supermarket in 2017.

Councillor James Hill [Con, Rectory Farm] announced the project yesterday. He said: "It's really great news. It's going to be a real benefit for the community. We're going to have a whole extra hall to essentially double what we can do with the centre at the moment.

"Although we lost the Barn Owl pub to get here, this is a silver lining to the whole saga."

Councillor James Hill says he is 'thrilled' by the announcement.

Councillor James Hill says he is 'thrilled' by the announcement.

In 2017, the borough council was paid an out-of-court settlement by Hawthorn Leisure to be released from a 'community covenant' when they applied to convert the Barn Owl pub into a Co-Op supermarket.

The money was earmarked to be put back into Rectory Farm, and will now be used entirely to renovate the Community Centre.

The remaining £150,000 will be tabled at a full borough council cabinet meeting on February 20 - but this funding still needs to be approved before work can start.

The plans also include a complete refit for the centre's toilets, a baby-changing room and an outdoor terrace

Acting chair of Rectory Farm residents' association Toby Birch said: "We're very excited. It's going to make a huge difference to the local community.

"The building really is in need. It's in a bit of a state at the moment and this will transform the area when it's finished.

"I think it's a good example of a council working with a community group to make a difference."

Planning permission for the project will be applied for after the funding is approved in February.