We are delighted to announce that Sixfields Stadium is to be listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by Northampton Borough Council.
The announcement is the culmination of a long-running application by the Trust, dating back to 2015, asking for the stadium to be given this status.
The council holds the freehold to Sixfields, which was built as a community stadium for the people of Northampton in 1994.
ACV status means that the council must grant a six-month moratorium to the Trust, or any other community group interested in buying the asset, in the event of its decision to sell.
The listing also includes the west stand car park land at Sixfields but, contrary to expectation, it does not include the old athletics track behind the stadium’s east stand which we feel is land that should be retained for community benefit.
The Trust has asked the council for a meeting to explain this omission and will be making further representations to also have the old athletics track listed.
On the east stand development, the picture appears to be less encouraging.
Five years after the stand was dismantled, three years since the takeover by David Bauer and Kelvin Thomas and now six months since the Sixfields land leases were regularised by the council to enable the stand to be re-built, the development seems as far off as ever.
The football club and the council maintain that discussions about the development are encouraging but the Trust asked for a statement of intent to be agreed and published three months ago and nothing has been forthcoming.
The Trust understands that building work on the stand will only take place pending agreement on the development of other land around the stadium and, with Northampton Borough Council set to be scrapped in 2020 in favour of a new unitary authority, our concern is that wider planning considerations will now be shelved and that the re-development of the stand will not take place for at least another couple of years.