More than 1,000 people have so far signed petitions calling for a £50m shopping complex to be built.
Petitions were launched in Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Irthlingborough in favour of Rushden Lakes following a backlash to the plans from other county towns.
A petition launched by Wellingborough Conservatives has so far attracted nearly 500 signatures online and many more people have signed a written version. Another petition launched by Labour Irthlingborough town and district councillor John Farrar has so far attracted a further 260 signatures and a third by Pam Whiting, of Higham Ferrers, was signed by about 250 people.
Wellingborough Conservative Association management committee member Sean Lever, who helped to put together his group’s petition, said: “From the comments people have made on the petition it’s clear there’s a real hunger for this to go ahead.”
One of the venues which is collecting signatures for the petition is La Bella in Higham Ferrers.
Owner Sue Homer said: “We have people who are willing to invest in a derelict site and turn it into something which can turn people’s lives around. I’m furious councils in Corby, Kettering and Northampton are complaining about this – it’s nothing to do with them. The footfall at Rushden Lakes is predicted to be 3.3m in the first year – it’s only about a mile from my shop, why wouldn’t I want to capitalise on that?”
The petition can be signed online at http://wellingboroughconservatives.org/rushden-lakes/. Signatures are also being collected at P W House Jewellers and Rushden Bags and Gift Shop in Rushden High Street, and Cherry’s Pets in Irthlingborough.
Proposals for the complex at the former Skew Bridge site in Rushden are expected to go before East Northamptonshire Council this summer.