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