Kettering Civic Society
Newsletter 2 (April 2001)

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Kettering Civic Society acknowledges thirty-one years of dedicated service

Civic members joined together to celebrate the efforts of Arthur Heath MBE, Chairman since the society was formed, and Joe Minney the society's planning adviser. The luncheon, which was held at Wicksteed Park Pavilion, was a union of new members and reunion of founder members. John Steane former headmaster of Kettering Grammar School, and the Civic Society's first secretary, braved snowy weather conditions to attend from Oxford, as did Frederick East who drove from Exeter. The society was glad to have representatives from many areas including, the Kettering Arts Society and Desborough Civic Society. 

The new Chairman, Paul Ansell reminded everyone that it was the council who sponsored the formation of the Civic Society and he welcomed Councillor John Coleman, Mayor of Kettering and Mrs Coleman. He then presented Arthur with books entitled, "Creative Re-Use of Buildings" by Derek Latham. Arthur gave a humorous speech and his thanks to all who supported the aims of the society.

Photograph courtesy of The Evening Telegraph

Philip Sawford, MP for Kettering presented Arthur with a prestigious book award for his book St Gyp-In Mowsden. 

Tributes were paid to Joe Minney who on a weekly basis, for thirty-one years visited the Council Offices to view the planning applications and Ted Wright former Vice Chairman, now Senior Vice President. 

Paul Ansell presented them both, on behalf of the Society with a newly published and specially bound limited edition of, Thomas Cooper Gotch: The Artist's Life and Work 1845-1931, by Christopher Gotch, Civic Society member and great nephew of the artist. 

Thanks were given to Eva Heath for her support of Arthur and her dedication to the society, she was unable to attend and Linda Heath, former treasurer accepted flowers on her behalf. 

Mrs Joan Minney's services were acknowledged, in her role as secretary, after John Steane, she had contributed greatly to the Societies publications by delving into the history of buildings in Kettering and succeeded in having some 11 buildings granted Listed Building status.

Thoughts went to Dr Robert Wigglesworth, the Society's President, whose wife Barbara passed away on l3th January. 

The next main event in the calendar is on Friday 6th April: `An Audience with Arthur' 

............ ~ ............

Faction by Arthur... 

...his latest work, serialised for the Kettering Civic Society Newsletter. 

One can hardly expect a Chelmsford developer to be over worried about demolishing a building in Kettering, but one should be able to expect Kettering's Borough councillors to try and stop him.

He was a shrewd developer -a hard man - and Kettering's planners were no match for him at all. He ran rings round them. 

Someone had tipped him off about a part of the town centre that was 'ripe for development' (a developers term) so he jumped into his Peugeot 504 and belted down the A45/A14 to this place called Kettering. Within minutes of arriving, he had parked his car on double yellow lines, talked the traffic warden into allowing him to leave it there as he was 'measuring the site for a big development' and began to assess the future for retail units on that piece of land in Northall Street that stretches from the junction of Tanners Lane almost down to Lower Street. 

Already he visualised a block of retail units with associated car parking. He mentally measured the site and decided the site could accommodate three-no-four retail units. There slap bang in the town centre, close to Sainsburys and alongside the Newland Centre. 

Problems? None that he could see. A bit of waste land at the top of Tanner's Lane used apparently for car parking, an empty pub at the Lower Street end of his proposed development site, and a ragged old factory in the centre.

The man from Chelmsford got back in his car and began making notes

1. Who owned the wasteland used for a car park? Would they sell it? 

2. Who owned the derelict factory? Would they sell it? 

3. Would the brewers sell the pub? 

4. Must visit town's Planning Officer and Chief Executive. 

5. Must ring X (The man who had tipped him off about the site.) 

6. How much would he need to raise on loan? 

But this developer was no amateur. Items 1-6 on his list were a mere run of the mill. Planning permission? No problem. 

He eyed the site again and again but each time, the ragged old factory loomed larger and larger and he knew as sure as night follows day, that if there was to be a problem - the key to all his plans lay there, in that filthy, broken windowed factory. Yet without it?.... 


Did he, or didn't he? Read the next issue about the Chelmsford developer.