Poppies to make second bid to list former Rockingham Road stadium as community asset

KTFC Communitys original bid was turned down in June, with council officers feeling there was no evidence of community support.
KTFC Communitys original bid was turned down in June, with council officers feeling there was no evidence of community support.
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Kettering Town FC will make a second bid to list their old Rockingham Road ground as an asset of community value (ACV).

The Poppies attempted to grant the status to their iconic former home earlier this year, but their bid was rejected by Kettering Council.

Council officers felt there was no evidence of support or prospect of future use, but a petition to list it amassed more than 2,500 signatures.

That was enough to trigger a council debate - which will take place on September 28 - but the Poppies have already moved to make a second approach after a unanimous agreement at a board meeting on Thursday (August 25).

A club statement said: “When the property was previously marketed, we put in a bid for the site which took into account the ever increasing costs of restoring the site back to a football stadium.

“Each day sees a deterioration of the site. It is a fact that we had no response at all to that bid.

“The board sees the ground at Rockingham Road as solely a football stadium - for the continuance of football at a good standard and if the club was to improve its status then the site could provide a stadium for higher grades of football.

“All of our teams would also have the opportunity to play there from time to time.

“The interest in Rockingham Road is not only at a local level, but wherever we go we are asked about it and the fact that visiting clubs and their fans always enjoyed their visits.”

Giving Rockingham Road an ACV status would ensure the club is consulted on any potential redevelopment and give it an opportunity to match any bid for the land.

The Poppies have not played there since they moved to Nene Park in 2011. The club now play at Latimer Park in Burton Latimer and recently unveiled draft plans to redevelop the site.

But the club insists there is no conflict between those plans and the Rockingham Road situation.

The statement added: “There have been questions raised about our recently published outline plans for Latimer Park and the conflict with the situation at Rockingham Road.

“There is no conflict. We are, and will continue to be, a community club, focusing on not just the first team.

“To enable us to provide sporting facilities for our teams, and the people of Burton Latimer and surrounding areas, we have revealed these outline plans.

“To achieve these plans we have many challenges – funding, planning, community acceptance and support and the actual buildings themselves.

“The size and facilities planned at Latimer will be determined by whether we can find a football stadium for the first team or not – and Rockingham Road is one possibility only.

“Should no alternative for senior football in the town be found, then plans not only to develop the whole site at Burton Latimer, but also the football stadium there, will have to be pursued in conjunction with firstly the landowner and secondly the borough council.”