North Northamptonshire Council Executive to discuss plans to boost leisure facilities in Kettering

Leisure and sports

07 September 2023

Latest news image

Plans to improve sports facilities in Kettering will be heard at a meeting of North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive next week.

The proposal would see a long-term lease arrangement bring investment to refurbish the artificial grass football pitch, pavilion and athletics track in Thurston Drive in the town.

The pitch on Thurston Drive, was built in 1991 and has been unusable for several years as the surface has passed its life expectancy and has more recently been subjected to vandalism causing further damage. The site currently remains condemned.

Recommendations before Executive are for the Council to develop the relationship with the Northamptonshire Football Association (NFA) and lease the facilities to them.

Both organisations would then put a bid in to the Football Foundation for the necessary funding to bring the improvements forward.

This is a wonderful facility on the outskirts of Kettering and it’s very sad that it has fallen into an unusable state in the past decade so it cannot be used by the community.

The development of the relationship with the NFA is a great opportunity to attract the necessary funding to make these improvements and bring the facilities back into use by local residents.
Cllr Helen Howell, Deputy Leader of North Northamptonshire Council and Executive Member for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism

The arrangement would also see a variation in the current contract with Freedom Leisure to remove the facilities and the lease from their existing arrangement to allow this development to progress. 

The new lease arrangement with NFA – a long-term peppercorn lease for a 30-year period – would include a contractual agreement for continued use for Harriers Athletics club and ongoing support for continued development of the athletics facilities on site.

The popularity of football and athletics is such that there is enormous demand for this type of facility and it’s a real shame that it has been out of use for so long.

Sport and exercise in general have tremendous benefits for peoples’ health and wellbeing so it’s important that they have the facilities so they can be active.

I’m delighted that a plan has been formulated to bring it back into use. It will be wonderful when it can finally re-open.
Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council