Council shows its support for shopping centre

Corby, Kettering and Northampton are all against it – but a £50m shopping centre on the outskirts of Rushden would benefit people in Wellingborough, according to councillors.

The development would include 20 shops, a hotel, restaurants, a garden centre and a visitor centre.

Corby, Northampton and Kettering Council’s have all formally objected to the application, but Wellingborough Council’s planning committee has agreed not to object.

Council leader Cllr Paul Bell, leader of the council, said: “I think it’s an opportunity for the people of the borough.

I think it will provide facilities that our town centre cannot provide. My opinion is that it will not have an impact on our town centre, but it will provide work for up to 1,500 people who live in the borough and in East Northamptonshire. I would rather see 1,500 people in employment than 1,500 people unemployed.”

Cllr Bell said he could not understand why Northampton Borough Council was against the development.

“He said: “It’s 20 miles away, they might as well object to Milton Keynes. Let’s let this council offer no objection to this and let the people of East Northamptonshire and their council decide.”

Cllr Shashi Dholakia said: “I think this is an opportunity for Wellingborough, but lest not forget that we have been trying to organise our town centre and this could be the catalyst.

“I think it will affect Wellingborough and the surrounding villages for the better.”

Cllr Martin Griffiths said: “Our biggest threat to the town centre is the internet and not out-of-town developments.

“I know from speaking to people in my ward that they whole-heartedly support this development because it will give them the choice of shops.”

Jon McCarthy, director of LXB Development which is behind the plans, said: “We applaud Wellingborough Council’s planning committee statement in support of jobs, investment and a brighter future in unanimously supporting the Rushden Lakes application.”