Communities secretary Eric Pickles believes he made the right decision in approving the £50m Rushden Lakes plans.
He said it wasn’t an easy decision, but one he spent a long time considering and he believes it was the right one.
Mr Pickles visited the Skew Bridge site just off the A45 to meet supporters and councillors just hours after announcing his decision to approve the new leisure and retail complex.
He said: “I really wanted to make sure we got it right.
“And I think it is the right decision.
“It’s a unique development, there’s a blend of leisure, retail and tourism.”
During his trip to Rushden, at the invitation of Wellingborough and Rushden MP Peter Bone and Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Corby and East Northants Thomas Pursglove, Mr Pickles revealed he has links to the county.
He said: “I have got a soft spot for Northamptonshire.
“My grandfather was born here.”
And added: “It’s quite something to be able to give Northamptonshire something that will give it a bit of zing.”
Many supporters shook Mr Pickles’ hand during his visit to the site, which will soon have a £50m makeover bringing shops, restaurants, a garden centre, hotel and lakeside visitors centre to it.
Although he warned them that his decision was still subject to judicial review if someone chose to appeal it within six weeks.
Since the announcement, leader of Northampton Borough Council David Mackintosh has said the authority, which opposed the plans, would not be appealing the decision.