Developments to boost economy

The Rushden Lakes shopping and leisure park could lead to an influx of new businesses and employment opportunities, according to a leading commercial property agent.

LXB Retail Properties Ltd bought the Skew Bridge site for about £5m last year with the intention of building a £50m shopping and leisure park which would create 1,500 jobs and include more than 20 shops, a garden centre, hotel, leisure centre, visitor centre and restaurants.

It would also lead to investment into the East Northamptonshire Greenway and Blueway initiatives.

A spokesman for Prop-Search said: “East Northamptonshire could see an influx of new business development, leading to significant employment gains, if various schemes come to fruition over the next couple of years.

“The biggest is the proposed development of the former Skew Bridge site at Rushden.

“LXB has now submitted a formal planning application for a multi-million-pound shopping park.

“While 31 acres of the site is brownfield land and benefits from planning permission for 550,000sq ft of offices, LXB is looking to bring forward an alternative retail scheme.”

The news comes as the date for the decision on the planning application has been put back. East Northamptonshire Council had been due to consider the plans at a meeting on September 5, but that date has now been put back.

A source close to LXB said: “Time lags are very normal for major planning applications.”

Rob Back, head of East Northamptonshire planning services, said: “East Northamptonshire Council, in its role as local planning authority, is working with a range of partner organisations to consider the proposals at Rushden Lakes.

“At present there are technical issues that remain unresolved, primarily relating to the impacts of the proposed development on the surrounding area. Until these issues have been satisfactorily addressed the council is not in a position to determine the planning application.

“It is currently envisaged that the application may be considered by the council’s development control committee during September or October this year.”