New leases on the cards for tennis club, cafe and heritage group in Northampton as council reviews assets

There is a lengthy list of assets recommended for 'disposal' by West Northamptonshire Council

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 5:01 pm
Becket's Park Pavillion could be used as a cafe again in the future.
Becket's Park Pavillion could be used as a cafe again in the future.

A tennis club, a former cafe and an arts and heritage group in Northampton are to benefit from a review of council-owned assets.

Duston United Tennis Club, the former cafe at Beckets Park Pavilion and The Looking Glass Arts and Heritage Ltd were all part of a list of assets recommended for 'disposal' by West Northamptonshire Council.

The council's cabinet met on July 13 to consider the list of assets, selling off the freehold or renewing the leases in some cases.

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The cabinet resolved that delegated authority be given to the assistant director assets and environment to dispose of the assets listed below and where relevant agree the terms of such disposal in line with the proposals:

The Hill Shop, Hunsbury Hill, Northampton; Beckets Park Pavilion, Northampton; Bellinge Community House, Northampton; Cherry Orchard open space, Northampton; Farmclose Road, land adjacent to cemetery, Northampton; The Elgar Centre, Northampton; St Crispin’s Community Centre and open space, Northampton; Former Buddies restaurant, Dychurch Lane, Northampton; Hazelrigg House, Northampton; Delapre Golf Club; Unit 1 Farmfields, Northampton; Unit 2 Farmfields, Northampton; Tennis courts, Mendip Way, Northampton; Land at Radstone Fields, Brackley; Monksmoor Park Primary School, Daventry (enter into 125 year lease for school site at peppercorn rent).

Duston United Tennis Club, which uses the courts in Mendip Road, has been granted a new 25-year lease enabling it to apply for grant funding to enhance the facilities.

A report to the cabinet stated: "As this lease is to an organisation which benefits the community and does not take a profit, it is proposed that the rent would be a value which is lower than the one which could be reasonably obtainable in the market."

Looking Glass Arts and Heritage Ltd, which occupies Hazelrigg House, has been offered a five year stepped concessionary rent to allow the tenant to continue to provide services to the community.

The council was advised by the tenant that it could no longer afford to pay rent at the level currently due.

The stepped concessionary rent is proposed to allow the tenant to continue to provide services to the community however does represent a leasehold disposal at less than best consideration. Their original five year lease at a rental of £15,000 pa expired on July 31, 2020.

Looking Glass works with local communities to increase access to educational and provides opportunities to find out more about the history of the area.

It provides visits to Hazelrigg House where students as part of the Key Stage two syllabus, can explore its history and links to the battle of Naseby.

A stage school is also run from the site, training students in acting, stage management, sound, lighting, costume, and film production.

The timber clad pavilion at Beckets Park was built around the 1920s and used until recently as a café for park users to enjoy. The leaseholder died in 2017 and the café has remained closed since that time.

It was agreed that the pavilion could be offered to a community group for café use. The lease would not exceed 25 years in length but may be less and would contain provisions to protect the council's interests.