SHOPPING PLAN WILL COST OUR TOWN £4M

THE development of a £50m out-of-town shopping development near Rushden would cause a £4m hit to Corby town centre’s economy, it has been claimed.

Corby Council formally objected to the Rushden Lakes development at a meeting on Tuesday night, where a report raising a number of concerns was discussed.

The town has joined Kettering in opposing the scheme, which would include 20 shops, a garden centre, visitor centre, hotel and restaurants.

Councillors considered reports from consultants GVA Grimley Ltd and Drivers Jonas Deloitte, which suggest the plans fail to take into account potential future developments, such as the shelved Evolution Corby scheme.

The scheme, which was abandoned in August 2010, would have included new shops and 350 apartments.

The report claims developers have “understated the impact on existing town centres,” and approval “would potentially prejudice planned investment in existing town centres.”

It concludes by saying it would cost Corby £4m by 2016.

The report says: “The suggestion is Evolution Corby could, if built, absorb most of this but the effect on investors’ confidence in Corby is likely to be affected.”

Oakley Vale councillor David Sims, who spoke at the meeting, said: “People will go to other areas rather than Corby and it would suppress investment in the future. I do not want that.”

Shopper Nicola McCaig, 34, of Ashley Avenue, Corby, said: “I would probably still shop here because Rushden is a bit of a way away.

“I do my food shopping in town and go to Primark for clothes for the kids. Rushden is too far away, especially when you have got four children.”

Gavin Stollar, spokesman for developer LXB Retail Properties, said the Lakes is aiming to recover money lost to places outside north Northamptonshire and is not competing with existing town centres.