Slideshow: Future of Chester Farm to be discussed

Plans for Chester Farm will be discussed at Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet meeting next week.

The meeting, on Tuesday, September 10, follows July’s announcement the council’s project to develop the site into a centre for heritage education, learning and community participation had been awarded £3.97m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Chester Farm

Chester Farm

The report which will be presented at the meeting gives details of the full project costs, including a commitment from the council to support the scheme with £4.9m capital investment over six years if necessary.

Work is ongoing to find funding from other external sources to avoid the need for this potential council spend.

Chester Farm is a hugely significant historical site, providing evidence of thousands of years of settlement, from at least Mesolithic times to the present day, with the county council owning the site and responsible for its preservation and maintenance.

In May 2010 the site was hit by a massive fire just weeks before major restoration work was due to be completed.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for customers and communities Cllr Heather Smith said: “Chester Farm has the potential to become an internationally-significant education and heritage site, which people will want to visit, enjoy and get involved with.

“We are very pleased that the Heritage Lottery Fund has endorsed this vision by allocating us almost £4m to take forward this important heritage project.

“However, further money will be needed over the next few years to bring to life our exciting plans for Chester Farm, and open up this site to the public.

“The business plan is based on the council providing extra money to the project, but we believe that we will be able to access other sources of funding instead, and minimise any council spend.”