Northampton

Nene Park football stadium to be demolished in leisure park plan

Artists impression of Nene Park site
Image caption Plans for the Nene Park site include entertainment and retail zones

The stadium of a defunct football club is set to be demolished to make way for a leisure park, developers have said.

Rose Property Consultants' plans for Nene Park, which includes the former Rushden and Diamonds ground, include a multi-use football facility along with entertainment and retail zones.

Up to 170 jobs could be created if the plans go ahead.

A spokesman for the developer said it was "not cost effective" to keep the football stadium.

Tim Morris said: "No one yet has disagreed that the stadium is not economically viable."

Image caption Rushden and Diamonds eventually folded in 2011

Rushden and Diamonds was founded by Max Griggs in 1992 by the amalgamation of Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds.

After building a 6,500-seat state-of-the-art stadium in Irthlingborough, the club was half way up the third tier of football when Mr Griggs pulled out in 2005 for financial reasons.

The club was sold to a supporters' trust but it eventually folded in 2011.

Shortly afterwards, Kettering Town played at the ground for 18 months but could not afford its long-term upkeep.

'Complementary offer'

East Northamptonshire District Council had said any new plans for the site must contain a leisure facility.

Rose Property said it was "too early" to say how much the project would cost but the plan would be a "complementary offer" to Irthlingborough town centre.

Image caption Rushden and Diamonds' demise was as quick as their rise to glory

The plans would "help to publicise [its] shops and provide additional car parking" while "elements of the famous heritage of Rushden & Diamonds FC will be conserved".

Comments from the public will be taken into account when preparing a planning application, which could go before the council before the end of the year, the developers said.

The proposals will be displayed at Huxlow Science College on 19 and 20 September.

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