Cabinet endorses long-term lease for Northampton football club to build clubhouse

Thorplands 81 play their home games at Stone Circle Road
Thorplands 81 play their home games at Stone Circle Road

A community football club's plans to build a new clubhouse and community centre have taken a huge leap forward.

Northampton Borough Council owns about 48,000 sq m of land next to Stone Circle Road, having purchased it from Homes England in 1985. The majority of the land has been used by Thorplands 81 as football pitches for the past five years.

The club approached the authority to discuss the possibility of securing a 25-year long lease, the length of which would help them apply for various funding pots to help facilitate the football expansion. External funding bodies or organisations such as the Football Association tend to only consider funding if clubs own leases of at least 25 years for land they want to develop.

At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (October 16), councillors agreed to advertise the proposed long lease of public open space at Stone Circle Road.

It comes seven months after club secretary Colin Lee - known as Britain’s oldest goalkeeper - appealed to the council for their help in giving them the lease.

Speaking at the cabinet meeting, deputy leader of the council Phil Larratt said: "Thorplands 81 do a fantastic job and they have numerous teams in the eastern district and they have big plans to move forward. They want a proper clubhouse and community facility."

Fellow cabinet member Councillor Anna King added: "Hooray. This has taken a long time but it's good that we have got there in the end."

Should no objections be received then authority will be delegated to the economic growth and regeneration manager, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise Cllr Tim Hadland, Cllr Larratt, chief finance officer Stuart McGregor and borough secretary Francis Fernandes to approve and conclude terms of the long lease to Thorplands 81.