Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, has told the Rushden Lakes planning inquiry that there is unprecedented levels of local support for the proposed development.
Speaking at today’s inquiry, Mr Bone, who has lived in Rushden since 1999, said: “Since I first entered politics 40 years ago, I can think of few issues, if any, which have generated more support than Rushden Lakes.
“In recent weeks the full support for Rushden Lakes has become apparent.
“The Yes2RushdenLakes campaign has been swamped with support, and I understand you [the inspector] have received 1,000 letters.
“It’s by far the most popular planning application that I have ever known.
“It’s almost unique that a planning application would get so much support.
“I asked the House of Commons library if there were any other applications that had ever been so popular and well supported. There was three.
“It’s very unusual for all local councils to unite on planning applications.
“It even transcends party politics.
“Andy Sawford, MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire, has shown his support for Rushden Lakes, which is to be especially welcomed, not only because he speaks on behalf of Corby but also for villages in East Northamptonshire.
“Even Northampton MP Brian Binley said that in relation to the objections from Legal and General, if they are not careful they will turn themselves into a laughing stock. Anyone who knows the local situation knows there’s no way a retail development in Rushden would impact on Northampton.
“My own personal view is that it’s a desperately needed infrastructure project.
“The success of this project would mean the creation of a great number of jobs for young people.”
This afternoon the inquiry has been hearing evidence about transport and highways issues, including plans for a new footbridge over the A45, widening the Skew Bridge roundabout and a potential new bus service which would travel from the Lakes site to Higham Ferrers, Rushden and Wellingborough.