Last week I was invited to visit the former Upton Lodge farm buildings which lie just a few hundred yards South of the St Crispin’s development. These buildings used to be a dairy farm but have lain unused for some time. Three years ago they were given to the Northamptonshire YMCA and the main house was refurbished to contain 13 en-suite bedrooms, a common room and kitchen, with the intention of using it as a training centre for former unemployed or homeless young men. Unfortunately after the refurbishment had been completed, the money for the project which was coming from outside sources was pulled.
In time these buildings will be right at the centre of the Upton Lodge development of nearly 2000 homes and can undoubtedly be used for community use. But at the moment they are empty. The farmhouse building is refurbished but there are a whole load of barns, a walled garden and an orchard which need a lot of work. The Northamptonshire YMCA are currently thinking of interim uses for the buildings as well as community uses once the development begins. There is a lot of potential and a few ideas, but in the current economic climate each idea needs to be financially self-sustainable as outside grants are unlikely.