Plans to redevelop former home of Rushden and Diamonds FC recommended for refusal

Nene Park in Irthlingborough.
Nene Park in Irthlingborough.

Plans to demolish a football stadium and turn the site into a new retail and leisure scheme have been recommended for refusal.

Conalgen Enterprises SA submitted two applications for redevelopment of the Nene Park site in Irthlingborough at the end of last year.

They want to demolish the existing football stadium and build a new retail and leisure development with shops, an eight-screen cinema, 60-bed hotel, restaurants and a new community football facility along with access and parking.

They have also applied for redevelopment to create car parking spaces in conjunction with the wider mixed use proposal on the surrounding site.

However, the plans which will be considered by members of East Northants Council’s planning management committee tomorrow (Wednesday) have been recommended for refusal.

Objections have been received on behalf of seven households as well as several organisations and local authorities.

Concerns raised by neighbours include the loss of sport facilities, proposals to provide community football are inadequate, the stadium should be retained for sport and other activities and it could be redeveloped in a better way.

Others who have objected include AFC Rushden and Diamonds, Ellandi LLP which owns the Newlands Shopping Centre in Kettering, Swansgate Property Ltd which is the owner of Wellingborough’s Swansgate Centre, Asda Stores Ltd which is building a new store in Raunds, Irthlingborough Town Council, Wellingborough Council and the North Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit.

A report prepared for councillors to consider before making their decision states: “The harm arising from the proposal, to the vitality and viability of the town centres and the failure to demonstrate the development would be safe with respect to flood risk is considered to outweigh the benefits of the scheme, including the re-use of a redundant brownfield site, creation of a significant number of jobs and provision of facilities.

“Officers are therefore recommending that planning permission be refused.”

If the plans are refused, this would affect proposals by the Northamptonshire FA which wants to relocate from Northampton to Higham Ferrers with money as part of the Section 106 planning agreement for the Nene Park redevelopment to put towards replacement pitches.

To read more about the FA’s plans to relocate, click here

The Nene Park plans will be discussed at tonight’s meeting starting at 7pm at the East Northamptonshire Council offices in Cedar Drive, Thrapston.