Building work starts on Northampton community centre after compensation payout

Works have officially started on the community centre in Rectory Farm using money from an out-of-court settlement.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 7:00 am
Chair of Rectory Farm Residents' Association Toby Birch, borough councillor for Rectory Farm James Hill and construction director for Goodfellow Stuart Johnson on site at the community centre.

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, and the remaining £150,000 was approved by borough council cabinet.

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 is now being used entirely to renovate the community centre, which will see a new hall built, modern kitchens and lighting.

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A new hall is set to be built where Toby, James and Stuart are standing. Pictures taken by Kirsty Edmonds.

On Monday (October 21) Goodfellow Construction were on site at the community centre as building works commenced for the first day.

Rectory Farm Residents' Association chairman, Toby Birch, said: "We’ve always wanted to develop this centre. The building drastically needs work to improve it and bring it up to standard.

"It will benefit the community a huge amount as there will be more space for a range of different groups, which include anything from health groups to exercise sessions to social groups."

At the moment the centre is used seven days a week and is fully operational but the lack of space means only one group can use it at a time but this will not be the case when works are completed in March.

The building, which was once farm buildings, will see a facelift by March after a 250,000 revamp.

Mr Birch added: "There’s only one room at the moment and to have two rooms means that we can have the older residents in while we have the pre-school in operation. "

"For the pre-school to have their own area will be great. We can have two groups outside too, which will be terrific, and will reinvigorate the area. We are hoping it’s going to finish in March.

"Construction workers are going to try and keep to a similar sort of style as the previous farm buildings. The brick work is impressive, but what’s inside is not impressive after all this time. It drastically needs work."

Pictures taken by Kirsty Edmonds.