Windfall for town centre landmark

The old fire station in Brackley has been taken over by Brackley Town Council. PNL-140515-122100009
The old fire station in Brackley has been taken over by Brackley Town Council. PNL-140515-122100009

A Brackley landmark is one step closer to renovation thanks to the money paid to South Northamptonshire Council for the delivery of new homes.

Last Monday SNC’s Cabinet approved a £75,000 grant towards Brackley Town Council’s project to bring the Old Fire 
Station back into community use.

Funding for the grant came from the New Homes Bonus which is paid by central Government and is aimed at supporting communities affected by growth and development.

The 128-year-old Fire Station in High Street was bought by the town council in 2013 after the town’s fire and rescue team moved to their new facility in Oxford Road.

After sending letters to every home in the town to find out what the community wanted to use the building for, the town embarked upon a project to turn it into a meeting space and café with toilets facilities, all accessible from Brackley Park.

Town Mayor Elaine Wiltshire said: “The town council is pleased that the grant application was successful as it moves the project forward and, by using the New Homes Bonus Grant Scheme, it means that the whole community can benefit from the funds available as a result of the expansion of the town.”

Not only could the space be used for community groups and private functions like birthdays, but in its grant application the town council also said that the Old Fire Station could act as a link between the town’s two retail areas.

The application states: “The project building stands between the two main retail areas and could ‘bridge the space’ by creating a community focus and a reason for moving from one retail area to the other.” Councillor Ian McCord, SNC’s portfolio holder for resources said: “SNC is one of very few councils that ringfence some of this cash for housing delivery to be used in the areas where the development has taken place. Brackley has taken a large amount of new housing with more planned.

“Whilst there is always pain associated with new development, this begins to show some community pay back directly from those new homes.

“It has the twin advantage of getting a community asset ahead of the development which is yet to be built.”

Community Grants are available to organisations and individuals located in the district or associated with the district.

A wide range of projects and activities may be eligible for help, including capital projects as well as smaller projects such as supporting the purchase of equipment or the delivery of local schemes.

The next deadline for grant applications is Friday, February 27.

For more information on what type of grants are available and how to apply , visit www.southnorthants.gov.uk/grantscommunity or contact grants officer Katie Arnold on 01327 322216 or katie.arnold@southnorthants.gov.uk