THE company behind the Rushden Lakes shopping park bid has unveiled plans for a £1m bridge linking the site to the rest of the town.
Shoppers will be able to walk over the A45 to Skew Bridge, where there could soon be 20 new shops, a garden centre, drive-through restaurant, visitor centre, hotel and restaurants.
LXB Retail Properties says it is committed to paying for the £1m bridge as part of the planning application’s section 106 agreement, should the proposal secure planning approval from East Northamptonshire Council.
LXB development director Jon McCarthy said: “We always wanted to make the Lakes truly sustainable and encourage people to walk and cycle to the site and this bridge achieves that.
“Connectivity and access are crucial aspects of this proposal if we are going to attract local people to stay shopping locally.
“We wanted to design a bridge that wasn’t just another concrete carbuncle.
“It needed to be modern and practical, innovative and user-friendly and crucially, it needed to be an iconic design to reflect the attributes of the local area.
“This bridge will greatly assist towards the enhancement of the leisure and tourism aspect of the site with people being able to cycle and walk to enjoy the Lakes.
“Access to the leisure and tourism at Rushden Lakes is a point that seems to have been ignored by those who oppose us claiming this is ‘just another retail park’.
“There aren’t many retail parks in the UK with hundreds of acres of natural environment that are being opened up to the general public as a new country park.”
LXB Spokesman Gavin Stollar said: “We have maintained all along that this proposal’s aim is to recapture the 68 per cent of Rushden people who do their shopping outside the area.
“This is a local bridge for local people and is another reason, we hope, to encourage people to support our proposals.”