Supporters of a popular youth football club in Kettering have spoken of their shock after plans for housing on their pitches were submitted without warning.
Plans for the construction of houses on land used by the Ise Lodge Youth Football Club were submitted without any prior notice, by a Mr C Davila.
The club plays on the pitches to the rear of the Ise Community Centre and has helped develop hundreds of children over the years, including Burnley FC manager Sean Dyche who grew up in Kettering.
The centre published a statement on its Facebook page which said that as owners of the land, it had written to the borough council to make clear that it had absolutely no intention of selling the land for residential development now or in the future.
Jim Hover, chairman of the football club, was shocked to hear the news. He said: “There are a lot of unhappy families out there at the moment. I’ve got in excess of 400 boys and girls signed at our football club so there would be nowhere for them to go and play football.”
In response to the potential development, Cllr Mike Brown said: “I would ensure that this decision will be taken into committee and would hope that should it get to that stage every member of the community can come and express their opinion and help to get this rejected.”
Burnley manager Dyche, whose father Alan worked at the community centre, said: “The pitches took a very long time to become part of Ise Lodge and have served, and continue to serve, many, many children fantastically well.
“In an age when most complain that children are not fit enough and constant talk about suggestions of child obesity and general lack of fitness, it seems bizarre that this situation has occurred.”
Kettering Council, which co-owns the land, said it had no connection to the planning application, while a petition to save the club has been started on change.org.