An organiser of a consultation on the future of the Hawthorns site in Desborough says she is pleased with the public’s reaction.
The Desborough Community Development Trust (DCDT), which set up the Hawthorns Forum to discuss what should happen at the site, said dozens of people had replied with their ideas as to how it should be used in future.
The site, the former home of the town’s leisure centre, has been completely empty since its skate park was demolished last summer.
The DCDT has warned some houses may have to be built on the site in order to raise the cash to be able to buy the land from Kettering Council, but it wants most of the land to be for community or leisure purposes. It has been meeting architects to draw up a definitive plan for the area.
Paula Holmes, from the DCDT, said: “We have only had one or two people saying they don’t want any building there. The majority accept there needs to be some building to fund those facilities.
“We have had several suggestions that housing should be for people in Desborough who are struggling to get on the housing ladder.
“It’s a lovely area. It’s very important to protect the wildlife, but it really does cry out for a community facility because there’s so little around. But it’s not about competing with the new leisure centre.
“We want to present [a plan] as a good case, for the community to have some say in their future. There is a lot of attachment to the old leisure centre site, and I share it.”
Belinda Humfrey, another member of the Hawthorns Forum and Desborough Civic Society chairman, said residents had made it clear what they wanted in the past, and a 3,660-signature petition opposing the demolition of the leisure centre was submitted to Kettering Council in 2011.
Shoppers in Station Road this week told the Northants Telegraph the site should include something for the town’s youngsters.
Rose Hill said: “There’s nothing here for the children. I think they should give the land to the children. I’ve got two grandchildren growing up and they’ve got nowhere to go.”
Jennifer Woodcock agreed, adding: “You never had this problem before, because they were up at the skate park.”
Any plans for the Hawthorns would fit into a neighbourhood plan being drawn up by the council.
In December, Kettering Council’s executive committee voted to delay a decision on the site’s future so the town council could come up with the plan.