Housing plans for old leisure centre

A LEISURE centre which recently closed down despite widespread opposition has been earmarked as a site for potential housing.

The Hawthorns Leisure Centre in Desborough has been highlighted as a site for more than 100 homes in Kettering Borough Council’s Local Development Document.

Desborough Community Development Trust launched a bid to take over the centre but this was turned down by the authority last year.

This was despite a petition containing 3,600 signatures in favour of the centre staying open.

The council owns The Hawthorns, and is opening a new leisure centre in Ironwood Avenue, on the town’s new Grange estate.

Paula Holmes, secretary of the Desborough Community Development Trust, said: “This plan has been in development for a number of years, so they must have had it in mind for housing for a while.

“For them to go through various public meetings for the trust to take over the centre is just awful. This is not democracy.

“There is no trust between the people of Desborough and the council.

“The plan for housing is disappointing but this is not the end.

“The Localism Bill gives us various options to consider.

“But it will be a hard site to develop on. It’s quite low so there’s a flood risk.

“A lot of people are upset and distraught.”

The recently refurbished Desborough Skate Park is also on the site earmarked for housing.

And close to the area is Tailby Meadow, a nature reserve. The trust believes this area could be affected by any nearby housing development.

People can have a say on the proposals when the plans go to public consultation next month.

The consultation will take place from 2pm to 8pm on Thursday, April 12, at Marlow House, Gold Street, Desborough.