The Government has a golden opportunity to practise what it has been preaching, right here in Northamptonshire.
Ministers, most notably the secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles, have talked at length about giving local people a stronger voice when determining planning applications and new developments.
They have talked the talk.
Now they have a chance to walk the walk by giving the vast majority of people in north Northamptonshire what they want, which is a new shopping complex that will boost the economy, create jobs and offer leisure opportunities.
Forget what those in Northampton think.
And set aside the views of town hall officials in other places.
The most important people, whose views should be given the highest priority, are the people of Rushden, Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby.
And they want this scheme to go ahead.
It is hard to think of any similar development that has attracted such widespread support from members of the public.
So, if the Government truly believes in what it says about giving people more power to determine what goes on in their own communities, it MUST approve the Rushden Lakes scheme.
This is quite probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Rushden, and has huge benefits for the surrounding area.
If the scheme fails, the Government will have failed the people of north Northamptonshire.
Neil Pickford, Editor