Opposition councillors question approval of £250,000 loan to Northamptonshire Cricket Club

Northants Steelbacks are to receive a loan of up to �250,000 from Northampton Borough Council
Northants Steelbacks are to receive a loan of up to �250,000 from Northampton Borough Council

The opposition leader on Northampton Borough Council has questioned the approval of a loan of up to £250,000 to Northamptonshire County Cricket Club.

At a cabinet meeting yesterday, members approved a proposal to give the club an initial £100,000, with an option to borrow a further £150,000, to implement a new “financially sustainable business plan”.

A report discussed at the meeting stated the council ‘wanted to support the club to ensure it could continue to deliver county cricket in the town.”

Councillor Mary Markham, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “It’s a secure loan.

“We are very lucky to have three sports facilities here compared to other towns.

“We have received and have worked through a business plan, which shows NCC will be able to repay the secured loan within three to five years.”

However, Councillor Danielle Stone, Labour leader on the borough council, said she was concerned there wasn’t enough detail about the cricket club’s business case.

She said: “We are faced with a crisis due to the loan given to the football club.

“We need to be extra cautious giving loans to other bodies. I’m concerned that in this report there isn’t enough detail about what the business case is. It does not tell us who the other financing partners are to the cricket club.”

Councillor Sally Beardsworth, Liberal Democrat leader, said she always wondered whether the loan was a good long term investment.

She said: “I have no problem lending money to a sports club as long as there is a very good business case.

“I remember when the floodlights were put in at the cricket ground. They said this would help them develop and make them financially viable. Well it hasn’t.

“I just wonder whether this next loan is going to help them.”