Bid to list old Poppies stadium as community asset rejected by Kettering Council

Kettering Town's former stadium on Rockingham Road. ENGNNL00120120415152742
Kettering Town's former stadium on Rockingham Road. ENGNNL00120120415152742

A bid to list the Poppies’ old Rockingham Road stadium as an asset of community value has been rejected by Kettering Council.

KTFC Community made the application in April, which would have given the group the ability to bid should the land be sold.

Their efforts were defeated by council officers, who felt there was no realistic prospect of future use in the next five years.

Cllr Michael Brown (Con, Brambleside) has played a big part in the fight to bring the Poppies home, and he says he is appalled by the decision.

He said: “I am very shocked and appalled at a very, very poor decision that seems to completely ignore the spirit of the Localism Act 2011.

“It is about time community needs and wants show some more importance in the decision-making process.

“I am taking stock of the situation and seeing what the next step is.”

The club have not played in Kettering since leaving their home of 100 years in 2011, and now share Latimer Park with Burton Park Wanderers.

The original application noted that Rockingham Road is the only designated football ground in the borough of Kettering and that the town needed to protect its sporting heritage.

But the decision stated that as the club has moved and as discussions are under way to take on a long-term lease at their new home, the role of the club in the community should continue there.

Council officers also felt that the link with the Rockingham Road ground had not been maintained in the recent past and that there was no evidence of community support for maintaining the site for community use.

The property has been identified as a site for residential development in the council’s local development plan.

Kettering Council did not wish to comment further on the decision but added that nominations are assessed in relation to statute law and that decisions are made by council officers and not councillors.