KETTERING Council has objected to the plan for the Rushden Lakes development.
Last night the council’s planning committee voted unanimously to object “in the strongest possible terms” to the Rushden Lakes planning application for a commercial and retail park, which is to be considered by East Northamptonshire Council next month.
The committee was concerned about the retail element of the Rushden Lakes application claiming it would be larger than Fosse Park in Leicestershire. Its members felt it would cause irreparable harm to other town centres in the area, resulting in job losses of a scale which cancels out the jobs created.
At a previous planning policy committee meeting, which met this month, members expressed concern was expressed that the application was contrary to the national town centres first planning policy and the Local Development Plan. Its deviation from plans would make it impossible to renew the existing Local Development Plan, which also includes plans for housing; without an up to date plan, that would open up the whole area to speculative applications for housing developments, which the council would be powerless to resist.
Councillors also concluded that the application was seriously flawed and, if approved in its current state, would be open to legal challenge.
Planning committee chairman Cllr Shirley Lynch confirmed that the council would do everything it can to protect its town centres.
The council’s development manager Tom Shields said: “The consequence of permitting the Rushden Lakes application would be to absorb all the identified future expenditure capacity in the town centres in North Northamptonshire for the next 10 years.”