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Rushden Lakes development gets approval

Words: Sam Waddicor

A £50m mixed-use development in Rushden has been granted planning permission by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Rushden Lakes will combine retail and leisure facilities on a 244-acre brownfield site. Only 31 acres of the site are actually are developable, however.

Plans for the 465,000 sq ft project include shops, restaurants, a hotel, boathouse and a garden centre. There will also be a 1,300 space car park and a lakeside visitors centre. Marks & Spencer have exchanged contracts to anchor the development.

Despite the prediction that the development will create 2,000 jobs, the plans faced opposition when sent to public enquiry by Pickles last year. The Northampton Grosvenor centre, a shopping centre in central Northampton, and the group of Corby, Kettering and Northampton councils all argued against the development saying it could have a negative impact on surrounding town centres.

The leader of Northampton borough council, David Mackintosh, said: “The Rushden Lakes development has the potential to damage towns around the county but we accept this decision and are ready to move forward.

“The demolition of the old Greyfriars Bus Station will be complete by the end of the year and that will give us a prime, four acre site for retail and leisure use, that is ready for development, in the heart of a town centre and able to compete with any future growth at Rushden Lakes.”

Tim Walton, chief executive of LXB Adviser LLP, the property investment group behind the project, said: “This is excellent news. The planning permission was originally granted by the local authority in October 2012 and has been subject to a thorough review process. The group can now look forward to developing this major retail and leisure destination, bringing much needed investment and jobs to east Northamptonshire.”