Monday, December 15, 2008

Compare and contrast

WARNING: Parochial rant coming up.

Northampton is a large market town and local government district in the East Midlands region of England. It is about 67 miles (108 km) northwest of London on the River Nene, and is the county town of Northamptonshire.

Please stick with this background stuff and I will try to reach my point before TOO long.

The district's population is 200,100 and the urban area's 189,474, making Northampton the 21st largest settlement in England and the UK's 3rd largest town without official city status, after Reading and Dudley.

The town became significant in the 11th century, when the Normans built town walls and a large castle under the stewardship of the Norman earl, Simon de Senlis. The town grew rapidly after the Normans arrived, and beyond the early defences. The town and its castle were important in the early 12th century and the King often held Court in the town. During his famous fall out with Henry II, Thomas Becket at one time escaped from Northampton Castle through the unguarded Northern gate to flee the country,

Milton Keynes is a large town in Central England, about 45 miles (72 km) north-west of London. It is also the principal town of the Borough of Milton Keynes, itself part of ceremonial Buckinghamshire. It was formally designated as a new town on 23 January 1967. At the 2001 census the population of the Milton Keynes urban area, including the adjacent town of Newport Pagnell, was 184,506.

Ikea (where on earth is this going?) - a rather popular furniture store as we all know - wanted to build their largest UK store in the large and historic town of Northampton. Our Borough councillors did not think this was 'a good idea' and turned Ikea down. Milton Keynes Council (15 miles down the road) said (loudly) "WE WANT IKEA!!!" And Ikea went to Milton Keynes creating as it did so, many jobs and knock on benefits for other local businesses.

Northampton Town was founded in 1897 (now she is getting to it -ed.)For the past four years (2004) in order to secure the financial future of the club the current owners have been trying to get approval for redeveloping the land around the ground into a local centre with shops, sporting facilities and a hotel. Our Borough Council has delayed making a decision on this more times than I care to relate here. (Thank god says only reader who has got this far.) Except they have now made a decision, which I will get to in a minute.

Milton Keynes Dons were launched on 21 June 2004, nine months after the then Wimbledon F.C. moved to Milton Keynes (and for god's sake don't get me started on that disgraceful episode... I must stick to my point, always assuming I can still remember what that was). Milton Keynes Council wanted a football club - so they built a state of the art stadium to accommodate one. It's next to Ikea, and has brought with it further jobs and knock on benefits for other local businesses. It seems that when a local council has the will to make things happen,things happen.

On to Northampton's Borough Council and their long awaited decision is .....

Drum roll......

to do nothing until at least 2026.

Yes - I did mean to type 2026. EIGHTEEN YEARS AWAY.

To quote one club director:

"We have discussed the club's intentions now with four chief executives, three council leaders, and it seems a busload of planning officers over a period of five years.

"We have had talks on Area Action Plans, Local Development Frameworks, Joint Core Strategies and Masterplans and yet we are still, after all this time, right back where we started."

It's taking 4 years to build a complete Olympics infrastructure in London. It's taken 9 years to completely rebuild the West Coast mainline including stations at a a cost of £9 billion. It took 8 years to build the Channel Tunnel. It took less than 18 years to build the entire city of Milton Keynes. It will take our council 18 years to even start thinking about developing the football ground? Northampton Borough Council are a total and utter disgrace.

There won't be a fucking football club by then. We will have gone bust long before then without any additional income.

Everyone (except me) will have long since started supporting Milton Keynes (Franchise) Dons.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

This is why we live in a democracy. If you are not happy with Northampton Council's indecisive ways then you must put your cross in the correct box and oust the blighters next time you get a chance!
By the way , what is a "fucking football club"? Is such a club franchised by Spearmint Rhino and can I get a season pass?

Jay said...

Aaah ... doncha just love local government?

Can you appeal to central govt? I thought there was a general policy that we should be developing brownfield sites?

Kevin MacPherson said...

What's wrong with MK Dons? They're brilliant.

Reidski said...

YP, if only it was as easy as that. If only the majority of football fans who hail from and remain in Northampton actually supported their local side, then maybe the situation wouldn't be as desperate as it is, JJ. Much like anywhere in England, the pubs are packed for games on TV which involve Man Utd, Liverpool and, in recent years, Chelsea. These people, like their counterparts in Hull, couldn't give a toss about their local club.

Football, as we know it, is on its last legs - sad but true!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Hang on a minute Mr Reidski, Hull City are on TV these days and everybody in Hull seems to care about them now! It's like a fairytale.... but I do take your point. By the way, the vote in the box was a tongue-in-cheek comment because - well, don't you think that democracy is massively over-rated.

Anonymous said...

Reidski - I saw a headline in the Telegraph this morning along the lines of 'Inability to recognise sarcasm linked to dementia', so watch out.

Why is it that the Telegraph always looks so interesting when somebody else is reading it?


J.J said...

YP - you may have just hit upon a sure fire way to get the attendence up.

Erh - I will re-phrase increase the attendence.

Jay - the rate our local council is going it is only a matter of time before the Government does step in sack the lot of them. They are always bottom of those competency lists the govt is so fond of and are still showing no sign of improvement so hopefully.....

Kevin - in so many ways you are a total genius and man god. Over MK Dons you are just WRONG!

Reidski has just depressed me by reminding me how true that all is. Even one of my own sons supports Liverpool ( I have failed him!)

YP- yes, we all love Hull here. Only a matter of time before Hull city replica shirts can be bought in my local Tescos, along with the Man U's, Arsenals etc.

Messalina - has he given you our card yet?

Anonymous said...

Yes, he has: I saw him in the pub on Tuesday, thank you!