People are being asked for their views on a plan which will help shape future development in Rushden.
Rushden Town Council has submitted its neighbourhood plan, which is intended to guide development in the town up to 2031.
Housing is one of the key areas it looks at, including identifying sites for more than 610 new houses.
The neighbourhood plan is now available for people to have their say on as part of a consultation which will run for at least six weeks.
The plan says: “Rushden has grown to become one of the largest towns in Northamptonshire.
“While the town has many positive attributes, it no longer plays the economic role it once did in the region.
“In the mid-1900s there were over 100 boot and shoe factories in the town but by the end of the century most of these had closed and the associated employment they provided had gone.
“Much of the vibrancy of its old centre has also now been lost to out-of-town competitors and other nearby towns.
“The purpose of this neighbourhood plan is to put in place a locally derived development framework that will redress this lost productivity and create a better, more cohesive town that can support its future residents and once
again play an increased economic role in the region.
“In the coming years, Rushden will experience new growth opportunities arising from both the Rushden Lakes development and Rushden East; the new major sustainable urban extension proposed to the east of the settlement, beyond the A6 bypass.
“Our aim is to bring back the jobs that have previously been lost and to capture this growth for the benefit of Rushden’s residents.”
The plan includes a vision for the town, which is:
- To embrace the opportunities created by Rushden Lakes and Rushden East developments and to strive towards a town that balances the needs of its people with jobs and infrastructure
- To use Rushden Lakes and Rushden East as a catalyst for growth and to achieve real economic progress to sustain Rushden’s status as North Northamptonshire’s ‘fourth town’
- To provide an appropriate balance of new housing that is of a suitable size and type to meet the needs and aspirations of all residents both now and in the future
- To improve the environment of Rushden; providing more green open space and preserving the town’s important heritage and biodiversity assets and overall ensuring the town is an attractive place to live and work
Rushden has a target to provide at least 3,285 dwellings over the plan period.
Many of these will come from the Rushden East development, as well as a significant number of dwellings which have already been delivered in Rushden Parish since the start of the plan period in 2011, or already have planning permission.
It is hoped that the neighbourhood plan will ensure the residual housing requirement for Rushden is met, with six sites allocated to deliver 610 additional dwellings.
Among the sites allocated for housing are Irchester Road (15 dwellings), Shirley Road (150), land south of Northampton Road (80) and Hayway Northampton Road (65).
Hayden Road (100) and Manor Park (200) are also named, but the allocation of both these sites for development are contingent upon the relocation of the existing playing pitches and facilities to a suitable alternative site.
Proposals for housing development on these sites will be permitted provided they accord with other policies of the plan and site-specific criteria.
The neighbourhood plan will be implemented by various bodies, including the local planning authority and county council, and will be used to frame the town council’s representations on applications for development in the town.
The council will also use it as the basis for its strategy and approach to delivering or securing public and private investment in the town’s infrastructure.
A series of indicators and targets will be monitored over the plan period, including housing delivery, affordable housing, housing mix, older persons accommodation, open space, public realm and retail.
The submitted neighbourhood plan can viewed on www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/neighbourhoodplans or www.rushdentowncouncil.gov.uk
Any comments regarding the neighbourhood plan should be addressed to East Northamptonshire Council.