Northants County Council sites up for sale

Ecton Brook House, Northampton
Ecton Brook House, Northampton

Old school sites, a former care home and a children’s centre have been put up for sale by Northamptonshire County Council.

The former Oundle Primary School in Milton Road, former Kings Cliffe Endowed School in Park Street, Maplefields School in Kettering, the former Lings Upper School site in Billing Brook Road and the Silverstone infants and junior schools are all under offer.

Fletton Fields in Oundle, the former Ecton Brook House care home in Northampton, Maple House on the Danesholme estate in Corby and the Thornton House Children’s Centre in Goode Court, Kettering, are being advertised on the open market.

Cllr Bob Scott, leader of the Labour group at Northamptonshire County Council said: “This is the result of having a terrible Conservative administration which has brought our council into a position where it has no money.

“I am sorry that we are having to sell off assets that the community really needs. Flooding the market place with these assets could lead to the council receiving a lower price than it should get.”

The Oundle Primary School site in Milton Road is now redundant after a review of the three tier education system in East Northamptonshire led to the primary school amalgamating with the middle school and moving to Cotterstock Road.

The county authority is also proposing to sell Fletton Fields in the town. In recent years there have been protests against the move and plans to build 16 homes on the site were refused in 2016.

The school site in Kings Cliffe dates back to the 1880s and became redundant last year as the school moved to the King’s Forest area.

Maplefields School in Beatrice Road, Kettering, closed in 2012 and the school relocated to Corby.

Kettering’s Thornton House Children’s Centre closed two years ago as part of the authority’s previous cuts to the children’s centre budget. The Ecton Brook House care home was closed by the county authority in 2016 as part of its reorganisation of care services for the elderly.

The county council has to find £12.7m to put back into its general reserve funds after it almost exhausted the reserve to balance  its books in April. Chief finance officer Mark McLaughlin, who came into post in December, will set out his plans in the coming weeks about where the funds will come from.

The county authority, which is now being run by two Government-appointed commissioners, still has a huge amount of assets.

It owns numerous school sites, country parks, fire stations and historic monuments. It also has some farms including Finedon South Hill Farm in Irthlingborough Road and Pytchley Lower Lodge Farm off the A508 in Pytchley. The  council owns various library buildings, some of which are under threat of closure. The authority is giving 21 community groups the opportunity to buy or lease the buildings and there are fears that if the groups cannot come up with the funds then certain library buildings may be sold off.

The library closure plans are under a judicial review which will be heard at the High Court next month.