The long-term futures of two of Corby’s biggest sporting clubs have been secured after a deal was struck for new leases with Corby Borough Council.
In what has been described as a “momentous” and “groundbreaking” moment for Corby Town Football Club and Corby Athletic Club, the pair have agreed leases for what is believed to be a 40-year period at the Rockingham Triangle sports complex in the town.
From now on, Corby Town will be solely responsible for their Steel Park ground while the athletics club, in partnership with Weldon United Football Club, will be in control of the Rockingham Triangle stadium.
Both organisations have already laid out some of their plans for development on the sites, with the focus being on ensuring they are facilities that can be used by the wider community.
And that was a key factor for council leader Tom Beattie, who attended the Steelmen’s match with Bideford on Saturday along with officials from the other parties, to complete a public signing of the new deals.
Cllr Beattie said: “The deal has been done, the agreements have been signed and the new leases are in place.
“We are very pleased to be able to join with the football club, the athletics club and those involved in the Triangle complex because it is very important to us as a council to be seen to support local sports and to have a fantastic community facility managed for us with our partners.
“Everyone knows what everyone is doing, everyone is in agreement. It has taken some time to get to this point but we are here.
“As a council, my concern is to be seen to support local sports club but also looking after the interests of the people of Corby.
“It’s about us working closely in partnership with the clubs and ensuring the facilities are there for them to compete in the competitions they want to but also making sure the community can make use of them as well.
“It’s long term, everyone knows what their responsibilities are and their responsibilities to each other. We are all very clear and happy about it.”
Corby Town chairman Stevie Noble, who has been at the head of the club since the summer when a town-based consortium completed a takeover of the Steelmen, insists progression is now the key following the new deal.
“I think it is a momentous time for the club because it allows us to progress with the new changing rooms for the community,” Noble said.
“We can get another pitch up here and it means that the kids can actually use the Steel Park site once they are done.
“It has been hard work but if you are working with people who want the same thing as you then it makes it easier.
“People like Chris Stephenson at the council have been responsible for securing the grants and the money. All we have tried to do is make sure the money is used in the right way for the community.
“We have said from day one that we have to get the community involved in the football club and this is a major part of it.
“We currently have just two dressing-rooms, which are used by everyone so we will have four new changing-rooms, a new treatment room and we are going to develop the site properly.
“The community will get full use of the whole site and seven days a week, it should be in use.
“The grant is for £200,000 so we will make sure we get everything we need with that.”
The sentiment is shared by Ian Merriman, the chairman of Corby Athletic Club, who feels the new lease will give them a platform they have never had before.
He said: “We are absolutely delighted.
“There has been a huge amount of work from all parties involved to get us to this point.
“It is a line drawn in the sand and we all have some ambitious plans to expand the Triangle and over the next 12 to 18 months I think the people of Corby and the surrounding areas will see some big changes.
“We have just been given permission from the grant holders to build a new club room. That incorporates two new changing-rooms.
“It will give us brand new facilities and our aim is to involve more elements of the community.
“I think this is groundbreaking to be honest. We have had a number years at the stadium already and this will give us the platform we have never really had in terms of being able to look after our own future.
“It will be hard work but we have a great management team behind us and our relationship has never been better with our near neighbours.”
Don’t miss more on this story in Thursday’s Corby Telegraph