Poppies announce possible surprise return to Kettering, at former school site

Kettering Town have announced plans for a potential return to the town, at the former Avondale School site (pictured)

Kettering Town have announced plans for a potential return to the town, at the former Avondale School site (pictured)

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Kettering Town have shared ambitious plans for a potential move back to the town by moving into a school which closed in 2012.

A letter has been sent to residents living near the former Avondale Infant and Junior Schools inviting them to a meeting on Monday where the club will be sharing plans to build a new stadium at the site.

Kettering Town’s scheme would see the existing school buildings remain in place as club chairman Ritchie Jeune says the Poppies are attempting to enter into partnership with an unnamed health care provider.

He added: “We are currently exploring a number of different avenues, but the partners have not fully committed to us yet because we have not yet fully committed to the site.

“The meeting on Monday will give people a chance to see the plans and to speak to us.

“We want the co-operation of residents and there will be no point in is progressing with planning applications and so on if residents are totally against it.”

Mr Jeune said Avondale School’s playing field provides ample space for a stadium.

If the scheme goes ahead, the club’s offices would occupy the former junior school, while the health care provider would occupy the infant section.

Mr Jeune said: “We first looked at the site more than a year ago but we have been planning this for three or four months.

“What people will see on Monday are our outline plans.

“We don’t intend to change any of the school’s facade or exterior, so from the road people would not really see a difference, all of the work will be interior and at the school field site.”

The Poppies left Kettering in 2011 when they moved to Nene Park, the former home of Rushden and Diamonds. The club has also played matches at Corby’s Steel Park and currently shares Latimer Park with Burton Park Wanderers.

Northamptonshire County Council owns the school site and has already submitted a planning application to demolish the buildings and build 72 homes. That scheme also includes a children’s play area and recreation field.

Monday’s open meeting is between 2 and 8pm at the Crescent Community Centre in Laburnum Crescent, Kettering.