All change in the year ahead

Artist's impression of Corby's new Odeon cinema
Artist's impression of Corby's new Odeon cinema

Major shopping developments which could create new jobs and boost the economy of Northamptonshire are set to open or get under way next year.

Jobs and the economy are set to get a boost in 2013 with the start of major shopping developments in the north of the county.

A multi-million pound scheme at Rushden Lakes is the biggest development on the horizon, but town centre improvements and investments will also be made in Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby.

East Northamptonshire Council granted planning permission for the £50m Rushden Lakes shopping and leisure development in October.

However, due to the scale of the scheme it will now be reviewed by the Secretary of State and the final decision will be made by a Government inspector.

LXB Retail Properties, the company behind the proposed development at Skew Bridge on the outskirts of Rushden, plans to build 20 shops, restaurants, a lakeside visitor centre, a hotel, leisure club and a boat house.

East Northamptonshire Council leader Cllr Steven North said: “We’re keen to see work start on this exciting development which will bring new jobs to the area and regenerate a site that has become run down. The potential to increase spending in the district, provide a better retail offer for local people and maximise leisure opportunities is just what the district needs right now so we look forward to hearing a decision.”

LXB Retail Properties, which bought Skew Bridge for almost £5m in 2010, say the lakes plan would create up to 2,000 jobs for the area.

In Wellingborough, 2013 will be the year when schemes which have been in the pipeline finally begin.

Plans to develop Jackson Lane car park, off High Street, Wellingborough, have been lodged with the borough council and final reports are being drawn up before the scheme goes in front of members of the planning committee.

Housing and regeneration specialist Keepmoat has applied for planning permission to build 128 homes, including affordable housing for rent, a 200-space multi-storey car park and shops.

It is hoped work on the site will start as early as February or March next year.

In addition, the huge 3,000-home Stanton Cross development – which will include a new railway station, shops, schools, office space, a park, community centre, GP surgery, taxi rank and car parking – is also expected to begin in 2013.

The borough council used its compulsory purchase powers to acquire the land in April, enabling the Bovis development to go ahead.

Wellingborough Council leader Paul Bell said: “I’m confident for the borough. It’s going to be a year of change when schemes which have been talked about for years will start.

“It is all part of our vision for development and regeneration.”

Swansgate shopping centre is continuing to trade as normal after the property fund which owns it went into administration in September.

A decision on its future will be made in the new year.

Cllr Bell said: “With our free parking, few shops standing empty and the start of major developments, I’m optimistic about the new year. It’s a vote of confidence in the borough.”

In Corby, work is to start on the long-awaited six screen Odeon cinema in April, creating jobs and giving the town centre a major boost.

The complex, on the site of the former Tresham College, will also eventually include 113 one, two and three-bedroom properties at a later date.

Corby Council leader Cllr Tom Beattie said: “The residents of Corby have been eagerly awaiting their very own cinema and so we are very pleased that things are now moving forward.

“It will be another amazing day for the regeneration of the borough when we open the doors to this facility.”

At Kettering, management company Ellandi, which has invested in the Newlands Centre, is forging ahead with its plans to rebrand and upgrade the shopping complex.

New toilet facilities at the centre opened in November – the latest stage in a major refurbishment project.