AFC Rushden & Diamonds objects to redevelopment plans for Nene Park

Nene Park in Irthlingborough
Nene Park in Irthlingborough
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A football club has objected to plans to redevelop the former home of Rushden and Diamonds Football Club.

Conalgen Enterprises SA submitted two applications for redevelopment of the Nene Park site in Irthlingborough at the end of last year.

They want to demolish the existing football stadium and build a new retail and leisure development including a foodstore, shops, eight-screen cinema, hotel, restaurants and a new community football facility.

They have also applied for permission to create car parking spaces in conjunction with the new development by redeveloping the five-a-side pitch in Diamond Way.

But AFC Rushden & Diamonds has formally objected to the plans, which will be considered by East Northants Council, and have released a statement on the club website.

The statement raises numerous concerns about the plans, including the loss of a large football stadium, another full size pitch and a five-a-side pitch.

It says the area is already lacking in sports facilities and these plans would only compound that further.

Part of the statement reads: “As previously mentioned, the local area is already severely lacking in sporting facilities.

“For example, when answering East Northants District Council’s Playing Pitch Strategy survey, a representative of the club detailed amongst their responses that we currently have 21 teams who would actively prefer to play their home matches within East Northants but cannot due to a lack of local playing facilities.

“Having reviewed the documentation accompanying the aforementioned outline planning application, we feel that granting planning permission for the proposed development would be of further detriment to this situation rather than helping to address it.

“Considering the above, we trust that you will recommend to your committee that this outline planning application should be refused.”

The application for outline planning permission will be considered by East Northants Council.

A number of other objections have been lodged against the plans.

One states: “The current AFC Rushden & Diamonds is in need of sporting facilities in the local area having been displaced from Nene Park and is having to ground share in Wellingborough.

“It has now established itself as a much used and needed not-for-profit community club which will serve the growing local population well with its 34 teams which include disability, youth and walking football teams.

“Other local sports clubs, schools and community groups could benefit from a more appropriate provision of sporting facilities on this site which would have a much lower impact on the environment.

“The proposed number of new houses being planned for Irthlingborough, Higham Ferrers, Rushden and Wellingborough highlight the need for more sports facilities in the local area to cater for the growing population and to demolish a large sporting facility to make way for yet more retail development seems ridiculous.”

To see the plans search for 15/02198/OUT on the planning section of www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk.

To read the club statement in full, go to http://www.afcdiamonds.com/club-submission-regarding-nene-park-plans