Kettering Council to discuss designating old Poppies ground for housing

The Poppies' old Rockingham Road stadium. NNL-170409-142535005
The Poppies' old Rockingham Road stadium. NNL-170409-142535005

Councillors will meet tonight (Tuesday) to decide whether to recommend designating Kettering Town FC’s old Rockingham Road stadium for housing.

The ground has been vacant since 2011 and has been left in a state of disrepair, with the Poppies playing in nearby Burton Latimer.

Kettering Council is currently preparing a Site Specific Part 2 Local Plan (SSP2) and has created a draft list of sites to be developed as housing.

That list includes Rockingham Road, with a council report saying it would need to be demolished to pave the way for a development of up to 88 houses.

The council report says: “The site was the former stadium for Kettering Town Football Club, lying towards the north of the town.

“It has been vacant since 2011 (six years).

“The club currently plays its football at Burton Latimer.

“Development would require the demolition of the stadium in order to accommodate a residential use, for up to 88 dwellings and that the roundabout onto Rockingham Road may need modification in order to facilitate a suitable access into the site.

“It is recommended that this site is designated as a draft housing allocation.”

Independent councillor Michael Brown (Brambleside), a vocal supporter of the campaign to find the club a new site, says should the ground be demolished any developer must provide a like-for-like facility.

He said: “It is well documented there is a very high and current need for a sporting stadium within Kettering town itself, not least, for our local sporting clubs such as Kettering Town Football Club to name but one.

“There have been some very serious and determined efforts to bring Rockingham Road Stadium back into use over the past few years to fulfill this current need, most notably the two applications for a community asset that were rejected by Kettering Council and also the local petition which saw thousands upon thousands of local people demonstrate that need.

“Sport England have also supported this view in recent times.

“The limitations of Latimer Park as a permanent facility are not only well documented but it also sits outside the town of Kettering.

“The council itself have admitted at the most senior of levels, that the destruction of this facility, which still has a present and clear need, would require any developer to supply a like-for-like facility elsewhere and I feel that this could be strongly demonstrated legally if need be.

“Scott Road garages would be a far more sensible place to build some housing, rather than the previously suggested gypsy and Traveller site.”

Other sites on the list include the Scott Road garages, Kettering Fire Station in Headlands, Glendon Ironworks, and Ise Garden Centre in Warkton Lane.

The list also highlights a factory adjacent to 52 Lawson Street, land to the rear of Cranford Road, McAlpine’s Yard adjacent to Abbots Way and land at Junction 7 of the A14 near the Crematorium.

The meeting starts at 6.30pm in the Committee Room at the council offices.