Communities Secretary approves Rushden Lakes development


Communities Secretary approves Rushden Lakes development

According to the plans, the developer LXB Properties can go ahead with the retail park on a 244-acre plot of brownfield land next to the A45 Northampton Road, on the old Skew Bridge Country Club and dry ski slope.

The development will house shops, restaurants and a lakeside visitor centre, along with a hotel, leisure club, boathouse and a 1,300-space car park. It is expected to create 2,000 new construction jobs.

The application by LXB RP (Rushden) Ltd for the derelict brownfield site was submitted in 2011.

The plans have been significantly delayed due to the planning uncertainty on the 465,000 sq ft Rushden Lakes complex.

Neighbouring Kettering Borough Council, Northampton Borough Council and Corby Borough Council had opposed the plan due to the high risk of causing "irreparable harm" to neighbouring town centres in the area.

The decision letter issued on behalf of Eric Pickles stated that the Communities Secretary agreed with the inspector "that the effect on Corby, Kettering and Northampton town centres would not be significant."

However Pickles stressed that the scheme "could not realistically be moved to another location; and that there is no suitable and available sequentially superior site.

The letter said that "He also agrees that at present there is significant leakage of comparison goods expenditure from Rushden, its home zone and all the other zones in North Northamptonshire; that Rushden and the other towns in North Northamptonshire are failing to provide sufficient choice and quality in their comparison goods offer, whether in centre or edge/out of centre."

The letter concluded that the scheme proposals "would ensure a better life for the people of Rushden and North Northamptonshire."

As a response to the approval, councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council said the development "has the potential to damage towns around the county but we accept this decision and are ready to move forward" as it will generate many engineering job opportunities for local communities.

Photo Source: BBC