Homes plan approved for former Desborough leisure centre

David Coe outside the former Hawthorns Leisure Centre in Desborough
David Coe outside the former Hawthorns Leisure Centre in Desborough

Plans to build homes at a former leisure centre in Desborough have taken a step forward.

This was despite a last-ditch plea from residents to allow them more time to complete their own plan for the site.

Kettering Council’s executive committee met last Wednesday evening to discuss proposals for the former Hawthorns site, which lies adjacent to land owned by the Co-operative Society in the Ise Valley.

The committee agreed to enter into a collaboration agreement with the Co-op to seek outline planning permission for the joint plots.

A number of speakers at last week’s meeting pleaded with the council to give them more time to complete the ongoing Desborough Neighbourhood Plan, which has its own section dedicated to the Ise Valley.

Jean Wardle, a member of the Neighbourhood Plan steering group, said: “I am sure the council would not dream of getting rid of this area without looking at it first.

“You have a duty towards the people of Desborough.”

Cllr Michael Brown, speaking at the meeting, queried whether seeking plans for the Hawthorns site would prevent the Neighbourhood Plan moving forward or completing its own feasibility study for the land and was told no.

Speaking after the meeting, Paula Holmes, a member of Desborough Community Development Trust, said: “In my opinion the council are not embracing localism in making this decision.

“We were not joking when we invited them to the Ise Valley to have a look around for themselves – it is an important open space for the town.

“We know there needs to be development in Desborough, but the neighbourhood plan will give us the evidence to show where that should be.”