Wellbeing centre at risk of closure as cricket ground approval progresses

Sammuel Yisrael and Natasha Caton

A community farm and wellbeing centre, praised for its support of vulnerable individuals in Northamptonshire, is facing closure, as a proposed cricket ground for Northamptonshire County Cricket Club’s academy, women’s and disability sides appear to have been approved.

Located in Moulton at New Manor Farm, Sol Haven has been running for almost ten years.

Co-founded by Sammuel Yisrael and Natasha Caton, Sol Haven offers various programs aimed at helping people overcome adversity, including rural skills workshops, eco-therapy sessions, and more.

The proposed cricket facility raises concerns about increased traffic and disruption to the peaceful atmosphere Sol Haven provides.

Natasha Caton, one of the co-owners, worries that the noise and activity associated with cricket matches could disturb not only the farm’s tranquillity but also the lives of residents.

As discussions regarding the cricket ground’s approval progress, the future of Sol Haven hangs in the balance.

Caton said: “This came pretty much out of the blue to us. In fact, the first we knew about it was when someone mentioned it on Facebook. There will undoubtedly be an impact on the way we run things here as we are proudly seen as an oasis of calm, peace and tranquillity for our users, many of whom are very vulnerable and have been signposted to us from local stakeholders from within the care sector.

“Also, this is far from an issue that is just going to potentially impact Sol Haven. There are environmental impacts in terms of flora, fauna and biodiversity and also the impact of noise and traffic. There appear to be plans for parking on the new site but it won’t take much of a leap to find the little roads around the area are soon full of cars. Right now we are processing what this all means whilst trying to focus on supporting our users but finding that balance is a battle all of its own.”

Yisrael added: “These are worrying times as previous works have caused issues already with the building of a housing estate built on the field behind. It appears that a lot of waste from there was dumped on a piece of land that was earmarked for community use. This has caused flooding onto the farm fields and into Sol Haven and also made the school playing fields unusable. This has a massive impact on the children in the neighbourhood.

“We are concerned that any additional development could make this sorry situation worse and also promises for keeping community space will not be honoured as seen with this other building development. What is critical right now is a plan that engages with the local community and their needs.”