Council set to award 25-year lease to Northampton football club to facilitate expansion

A community football club is set to be awarded a 25-year lease by the borough council to help facilitate building a new clubhouse and community centre.

Friday, 11th October 2019, 6:17 pm
Colin Lee and Thorplands 81 look set to strike a lease deal with Northampton Borough Council
Colin Lee and Thorplands 81 look set to strike a lease deal with Northampton Borough Council

Northampton Borough Council owns approximately 48,000 square metres 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 last five years.

The club approached the authority to discuss the opportunity of them securing a 25-year long lease, the length of which would help them apply for various funding pots to help facilitate the 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 next Wednesday (October 16), councillors will be told: “This project will keep the space as public open space and not change the functional use of the area. By enabling Thorplands 81 to access finance they will be able to provide facilities to support the community activity.”

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It finally comes before cabinet seven months after club secretary Colin Lee – affectionately dubbed as Britain’s Oldest Goalkeeper – appealed to the council for their help in giving them the lease.

Back in March he told councillors: “We are looking for support in developing a clubhouse or community centre that will attract more people and get even more involved. Thorplands and Southfield don’t have any facilities like that and the idea is to build it for a large room of say 130 people, and you could use it for events or Scouts groups as well.”

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, chief finance officer Stuart McGregor and borough secretary Francis Fernandes to approve and conclude terms of the long lease to Thorplands 81.