Residents feel 'stabbed in back' by Northampton school's plan for games area

Delapre Primary School is bidding to convert its memorial garden into a multi-use games area
Delapre Primary School is bidding to convert its memorial garden into a multi-use games area

Residents of a Northampton street feel ‘stabbed in the back’ by a school’s plan to build a multi-use sports area on land they claim they donated more than 20 years ago.

A planning application has been submitted for the games area by Delapre Primary School deputy headteacher Stephen Casey on land between Rothersthorpe Road and Briar Hill Road.

It forms part of the school’s bid to promote health through sport and have ‘a positive effect’ on the lives of children.

But residents living next to the proposed area on Briar Hill Road say they donated the parcel of land to the school in 1995 for a memorial garden and walkway to the playing field.

The application has been referred to Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee by the independent ward councillor Julie Davenport, and is due to be determined on Tuesday July 3.

She said: “This has been an emotive subject for the residents. They do feel stabbed in the back really because they did this for the school, and now the school is doing this to them without even having consulted them.”

One angry resident complained to planning officers: “At no point during this process has the school made any attempt to contact those residents immediately affected and adjacent to the proposed plan.

“The residents’ first sight of any intention to develop the land was the letter from the planning office giving us 21 days to contest.”

The school has set up a crowdfunding page to raise £100,000 to build the games area.

In a letter to parents back in March, deputy head Mr Casey said: “We feel this will be a hugely beneficial change to the current space and that, while the cost of this project is high, it is money worth spending in order to ensure that children in the local area, who attend our school, have facilities equal to those seen elsewhere across the town and the county.”

Council documents suggest the games area will be used between 8am and 6pm on Mondays to Fridays, but a planning condition has been recommended to limit use to these hours only. This would rule out use during weekends and bank holidays.

Ten letters of objection have been sent from residents, with the main concerns being damage to properties from balls, excessive noise and spoiling views.

Although the application is recommended for approval by planning officers, it is councillors on the planning committee that will make the final decision next Tuesday.