Council does not care about us

The skate park in Desborough being demolished. Kettering Council does not care about the town, says Belinda Humfrey
The skate park in Desborough being demolished. Kettering Council does not care about the town, says Belinda Humfrey
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Dozens of Desborough residents have remarked to me that whereas Kettering Council probably spent abut £100,000 demolishing the Hawthorns Leisure Centre against the community’s wish to run it, not only have they not replaced but they haven’t demolished the small fire-damaged public toilets which have degraded the top of our High Street for years.

We are well-mannered and reasonable people in Desborough.

We hand in petitions such as that with the 3,660 signatures to councillors and another presented to the House of Commons by our MP.

Both of these aimed to save our community assets, the Hawthorns and Ise Valley Skate Park.

And we’ve queued patiently to vote in a parish poll to say, by 89 per cent, that we’ll accept a major superstore to the north of the town but not in its centre.

But our petitions and arguments are ignored.

Would a Desborough Rising help?

Where is help against those Kettering Council officers from far away places and our Kettering blinkered councillors?

Now our plight is worse.

In an asset management meeting in July 2012, the council said it must demolish Desborough Youth Action Group’s BMX/Skate Park on council land at the Hawthorns or lose one-sixth of the land value for a developer’s housing.

That was just after our grand relaunch of the park with totally renewed ramps, thanks to months of work from our community and materials bought with funds from the police, Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs and others.

Officers were visibly displeased when, with a solicitor’s letter, we obtained use of the park until the end of this September.

Result? As though we of Desborough don’t care about the safety of our youth Kettering Council inspected the park for faults even more fiercely than they have for the previous 14 years of our maintaining it through inevitable wear and tear and occasional vandalism.

In our regular repair work we were helped by generous discounts and support from commercial firms like Travis Perkins and local carpenters.

The private and commercial world has been kind to us; in contrast to Kettering Council.

A month ago, we were going in with workmen and wood to repair annual wear and tear, after which the boys, as usual would have made the ramps look good with wood preservative.

But the council had locked us out, forbidding access.

On the day when DYAG and our superb expert advisers, Buzz Architects, realised that the truth of the council’s unreasonable cry of “non-negotiable” meant we must go to court, the council put in their men to destroy our property.

Our teenagers’ committee believes someone will provide lottery money – about £200,000 – for an equivalent park and a new site in Desborough.

But where?

Parents and grandparents stop me in town to say their boys are “gutted” or “devastated” by their loss.

Yes, thousands of boys have learned friendship, respect for one another, and skills in the park in that quiet, fresh air of the Ise Valley.

But does Kettering Council care about the real health and safety of our growing population of young people who “now have nowhere to go”? No.

Kettering Council’s interest, as emailed to angry residents, is housing, of which Desborough has and will have more of its fair share, and acquiring “capital”.

Belinda Humfrey


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Take advantage of the attractions

I read with interest but some astonishment that Corby will be looking at promoting the area for tourism again citing the usual half a dozen places of interest such as Rockingham Castle, Triangular Lodge and Deene House.

Why does Corby town not promote that which is within its catchment area?

The region known as East Northants controlled by Corby includes historical events and facts such as the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots at Fotheringhay Castle, Harringworth Viaduct, the Tresham family’s involvement with the gunpowder plot, the Newton Uprising and massacre, the World Conker Championships, The Bone Crypt in Rothwell, The Battle of Naseby, Wicksteed Park in Kettering.

A really nice tourist map could encompass the above quite legitimately.

Why is Corby so shy in letting the world know of its rich history and connections?

With Rockingham Castle, less than a mile from where I live, and its connections with Charles Dickens, Corby speedway, trout fishing at Eyebrook and Pitsford Reservoirs, Corby is smack bang in the centre of the United Kingdom’s history going back 1,000 years.

Let’s take advantage of where we are and not be so shy about what is within our bounderies.

Tom Bingham


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Not everybody is on message

It would appear that nobody from Team Corby Conservatives has told their very own Cllr Ray Lilley about their new cuddly, friendly and positive image (Why was the top job not advertised? Telegraph, August 22) as he continues in the negative vein that has characterised their period in opposition at Corby Council.

I also wonder why he is so bashful about using his title of councillor.

Could it be because he sat on the cross-party selection panel and voted in favour of the appointment that was finally made?

I think that’s called having your cake and eating it.

It looks like the launch of the good ship Team Corby Conservatives has been holed below the water line before it has even set sail.

It does, of course, call into question once again the leadership of Cllr David Sims over this rag, tag and bobtail gang of four.

Perhaps he should give up the pretence and step aside for the man really pulling the strings.

Step forward Cllr Rob McKellar.

Cllr Peter McEwan

Labour member of Corby Council

Please think about the trees

I note in your article dated August 22 that in a proposed plan for 90 homes on the former Kingswood school Corby site, mention is made of an environmental report which identifies some high quality trees and the recommendation that they remain as part of the development.

I hope the county council and Corby Council are aware the trees in question were planted in about 1989 and 1990 by a team of volunteers as part of the county’s centenary celebrations.

They were paid for by donations from members of the staff and pupils of The Kingswood School, Corby Police to commemorate their deceased colleague, parents of the school, some of whom wanted a symbol of remembrance for lost children through tragic circumstances and members of the Kingswood Community who wanted to be involved in a tree planting scheme.

The layout of the spinney was overseen and approved by the then head of Northamptonshire County Council’s highways department with the view of it echoing the Kingswood opposite the school.

To this end native Northamptonshire trees were planted, namely oak, ash, field maple and wild cherry.

More than 100 trees were planted.

Naturally some did not survive but those which have are at least 24 years old.

The idea behind the project was this spinney would grow as the Kingswood itself begins to fade.

Corby planners please note this is a very special environmental project which needs protection.

Sue Trengove

Member of the tree-planting team