LXB RP (Rushden) Limited applied to build a leisure building with a multiplex cinema, restaurant and retail units, ten pin bowling alley, indoor climbing unit and cycle hire facility as part of the major leisure and retail scheme at the former Skew Bridge site.
The officers’ recommendation was to approve the plans and members of East Northants Council’s planning management committee agreed when they granted planning permission at a meeting on Wednesday, April 20.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Andy Mercer said: “I conclude that there are no reasonable grounds on refusing this.
“I am happy to recommend that we grant it.”
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Cllr Dudley Hughes said he was ‘absolutely in favour’ of supporting the application but asked that some greenery was provided around the site.
An officer responded to him and said a landscaping plan was already in place.
Cllr Robin Underwood said: “I would like to say that this application is a most excellent facility for Rushden and surrounding areas.”
Cllr Gill Mercer also commented ahead of the committee’s unanimous decision and said: “When the original application went in and it went out to consultation, I saw some of the consultation responses both at Rushden Hall and in the press.
“The overwhelming complaint was could we have a cinema and I just thought you can’t expect people to put in a cinema unless there’s a commercial need and commercial company that will agree to do it so it was always just a nice idea.
“But obviously someone has seen that there is a commercial need for it and I am delighted that LXB have responded to that.
“A 12-screen cinema will go down very well in Rushden.”
The cinema, leisure uses, restaurant and retail units will be located in a single block on the western part of the site that will replace the previously consented garden centre.
The cycle hire facilities will be located in a new building on the eastern part of the site.
The first phase of Rushden Lakes is due to open next Spring and building of the cinema and other leisure units will follow that.
The Northants Telegraph revealed last October that Cineworld will be the operator of the cinema if planning permission was granted.
A spokesman for LXB Properties, owners of Rushden Lakes, said: “We are delighted that consent has been granted and would like to give our thanks to all of the residents and groups who have supported the project. Rushden Lakes will be a truly unique leisure, retail and tourism destination and one that will put the region on the map. We look forward to continuing to work with local groups and residents as we move forward with the scheme.”
To see how we reported the story last year, click here