Northamptonshire have bought the freehold of their Wantage Road ground as they further their aim to become "one of the best non-Test grounds in the country."

The club, who have leased the ground for more than a century, have paid a six-figure sum for the land which they hope will enable them to pursue further development plans. The funds for the purchase came from a legacy left by their former president, the late Lynn Wilson.

In the short term, the club aim to improve their outdoor practise facilities in the hope of attracting more fixtures involving international touring teams. They will also be able to use the ground as collateral with their bankers.

"This purchase gives the club a good opportunity to continue developing the ground," chief executive David Smith said. "And developments such as the outdoor nets facility will enhance our reputation within the game and it should benefit the club in securing future international touring team fixtures, as our improving facilities will be a big attraction to them."

"We're looking to develop the ground further when funds are available and owning the ground gives us security going forward," Martin Lawrence, the club's chairman, told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo. "In the short term we've got to look after our squad and it's important to get the balance right between the cricket side of things and the ground. I'm looking at maybe a five-year plan and possibly a small hotel or a block of flats but we haven't made any decisions yet.

"It gives us much more freedom to develop it however we wish. To the average spectator it won't make a lot of difference but to those involved it's very significant. We all believe it's an important step for us."