Disused farmhouse to be sold off at auction by Northampton Borough Council
A disused farmhouse in Northampton is set to be auctioned off by the borough council.
The authority is set to sell Rectory Farmhouse to the highest bidder after its plans to make the derelict building an outreach sixth form centre fell through.
The farmhouse and its buildings such as the Barn – which is now the community centre – date back to 1843 and were taken on by the borough council in 1985 as part of a land transfer from Northampton Development Corporation.
The farmhouse has had a variety of uses within recent years including being used as part of the community centre, a pre-school which has since relocated into the community centre and a police out-station. But it has stood empty since 2018 and is currently boarded up.
The neighbouring community centre meanwhile is undergoing a £250,000 refurbishment that was given planning permission last April, and will see a separate hall built to meet growing demand.
Now it is hoped that auctioning off the unused farmhouse will enhance the area further, with the borough council’s cabinet agreeing on Wednesday (February 5) to sell it off and generate a capital receipt.
Labour councillor Jane Birch is also a board member of Community Spaces Northampton, which used to occupy the building and now runs the neighbouring community. Speaking at the cabinet meeting she said: “Knowing the building well and having been one of its previous inhabitants I absolutely agree that it is in huge need of investment. To see it come back into some sort of use would be great for the area, as it’s attracting some anti-social behaviour as it’s a target being an empty building. It’s quite a spooky atmosphere there at the moment. We do need housing, which I think would be an ideal use for that site.”
A report read by councillors outlined why the council felt an auction was the best way of disposing of the land. It states: “Selling at auction also allows the site to be marketed in a competitive bidding environment which allows any interested purchasers the opportunity to make the best bid that they are able. An auction is a transparent method of disposal if well-advertised, for any interested party.”
The move was also welcomed by Conservative councillor James Hill, who is the ward councillor for Rectory Farm and also a member of the cabinet.
He said: “The community centre will look amazing when it’s done, and to have a building next to it that is derelict and unused would be a blot. So I’m really pleased that this could help get a development there that would lift the whole area.”