Preparation work planned for the coming months at Rushden Lakes

The new visitors centre at Rushden Lakes

The new visitors centre at Rushden Lakes

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Millions of pounds is to be spent preparing the Rushden Lakes site before construction of the retail units gets under way next year.

Jon McCarthy, development director for LXB, said between £6 million and £7 million will be spent between now and Christmas to make sure the site is ready for work to start on the units for retailers including M&S and H&M in the new year.

He said: “We want to hit the ground running when we start the construction.”

The former Skew Bridge ski slope has already been removed and enabling work, such as clearing the land and cutting the grass back, started last September.

The original date for the major leisure and retail complex to open was Spring 2016.

However, Mr McCarthy said it was ‘standard’ for dates to change with such a large construction project like this.

Mr McCarthy said: “The timings have moved on a bit.

“We will start on the site next January time with building the units.

“We are looking to hand over the sites to the large anchor retailers in October 2016 and then look to an opening in Spring 2017.”

The total cost of the building work is expected to be between £55 million and £60 million.

Once completed, it is estimated that the combined retail, leisure and tourism offering will attract more than three million visitors every year.

More than 2,000 new jobs will be created by the project, both during the construction of it and once it opens for business.

As well as shops and restaurants, there will be a lakeside visitor centre, home and garden centre and marina and boathouse.

The site will also boast free parking.