Town council has six months to find new Kettering HQ

They have been told they will be leaving their Bowling Green Road base this year

By Sam Wildman
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 6:30 am
The council offices in Bowling Green Road
The council offices in Bowling Green Road

Kettering Town Council has six months to find a new HQ after being told the rental agreement on their current home will not be extended long-term.

The authority, which held its first ever meeting last year, has been based at the Bowling Green Road offices of the now-defunct Kettering Borough Council since it was formed.

They signed a one-year lease agreement at a rate of £1,000 a month with North Northamptonshire Council (NNC), who now own the offices after the county’s local government shake-up.

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But last week town councillors were told that NNC would not be extending their lease on a long-term basis and that they had six months to find a new home.

A Kettering Town Council spokesman said they understood that they could still book the council chamber for public meetings but that they expected to pay a booking charge to do so. Use of the meeting rooms and parlour is currently allowed at no extra cost as part of their lease arrangement.

The spokesman added that they will be looking for new premises for them to move into by the end of October.

Cllr Emily Fedorowycz (Green) said potentially holding council meetings elsewhere could be a ‘real opportunity’.

She said: "This could be a positive thing to bring the meetings out to the public.”

Fellow opposition councillor Clark Mitchell (Lab) said: "Why would NNC forgo that money (the £1,000 a month) for the use of the building and what are their plans for the building in the future?

"These are the questions that we need to get to here at Kettering Town Council because it does concern me."

NNC say they want to make the ‘best use’ of their assets for their staff, including using the space currently used by the town council.

NNC leader Cllr Jason Smithers said: “Kettering Town Council entered into a one-year lease arrangement with North Northamptonshire Council for office space in the NNC council offices in Bowling Green Road.

“This has been extended for a further six months to allow the town council to find alternative arrangements.

“The town council is not being evicted but have been given more time to find alternative accommodation.”

Cllr Lloyd Bunday, NNC’s executive member for finance and transformation, said: “Part of providing the best services for the people of North Northamptonshire is running the authority as efficiently as possible, constantly transforming so we can be prepared for changing circumstances.

“This includes making sure we get the best use of our assets.

“North Northamptonshire Council is currently working on using all of its assets and office space for staff and this will include the parts of the Bowling Green Road offices currently occupied by the town council.”

Another authority, Corby Town Council, currently have a four-year lease on a peppercorn rent on their home in the town’s Cube building. It’s understood that there are concerns about the long-term future of their base too.