Higham Ferrers set for £2m football centre

The site would also be the Northamptonshire FA's new HQ.
The site would also be the Northamptonshire FA's new HQ.

A brand new football development centre could be built on the edge of Higham Ferrers.

The Northamptonshire FA wants to build the £2m centre - which would also act as its new HQ - on land off Newton Road near Moulton College and the proposed new home of AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

The purpose-built facility would include one main stadium with an artificial 3G grass pitch, which would eventually be at Step 4 standard, with two natural grass pitches at Step 7 standard.

There would also be four changing rooms, which could increase to six, with changing for officials as well as storage and toilets. The office space will have an open-plan office, meeting and training rooms, function room, reception area and toilets.

The county FA has been given a lease on the site by the Duchy of Lancaster.

Northamptonshire FA chairman Bob Cotter said: “The association is delighted to make a formal announcement of its plans to build a £2m football development centre in Northamptonshire.

"This will be the focus of our work in the county and the location has been chosen to make the centre conveniently available for all of our participants, from Daventry and Brackley in the west to Corby and Peterborough in the north east.

“The central towns of Northampton, Kettering, Wellingborough and Rushden will all be able to reach the centre within 30 minutes and many local teams will have access to play and train on the high-quality facilities."

The county's FA has been looking to re-locate for more than 10 years and a move to Higham was suggested to the Northants Telegraph in 2016.

East Northamptonshire Council's planning committee will now decide whether to approve the plan, which will provide pitches for local teams to play matches and offer access to a "high-quality" training facility.

The county FA aims to provide increased football provision and the centre will also host training programmes. It will have 150 car parking spaces.

Jon Sellick of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “The Duchy is pleased to support the Northamptonshire FA in its bid to create a central hub for local football and wider community sports.

"We have granted the association a new lease on an 11-acre site on the outskirts of Higham Ferrers near another of our long-standing tenants, Higham Town Football Club.

"We hope that this will help to ensure that high quality sports and leisure facilities are accessible and available to all members of the local community.”

Paul Starbuck, director of LK2 who are providing the Northamptonshire FA with architectural support, said: “LK2 have delivered and are involved with over a dozen county FA headquarters across England including the recently completed Middlesex FA HQ, which has become the benchmark scheme for future FA headquarters designs.

“The Northamptonshire FA headquarters will reflect the new model, combining the administration offices with a full-size artificial grass pitch (AGP), changing rooms and multi-purpose community, function, meeting and education facilities."