Major developments to boost Rushden and surrounding towns and villages

Rushden Lakes is a major development for East Northamptonshire
Rushden Lakes is a major development for East Northamptonshire

A council leader is looking forward to seeing major developments bring houses and jobs to the area as well as attracting investment.

Cllr Steven North says it is an exciting time to live and work in East Northamptonshire with major schemes set to take shape in the next few years.

Rushden East is very important for housing but also jobs

Cllr Steven North

Rushden Lakes is a major scheme due to change the economic landscape of the area and the Rushden East sustainable extension to the east of the A6 is another important scheme.

Cllr North said: “I think the issue always was Rushden Lakes is very much needed for this area and we were always very supportive.”

While there may be some minor alterations to the overall plans, which will be considered by the council as the planning authority, it is hoped that nothing will now stand in the way of the major leisure and retail site.

Cllr North said: “Our keenness is to see the scheme move forward.

“Spring 2016 is the target to get the first section up and going, and these developments can go up very quickly.”

The leader said there is still a buzz for the multi-million pound scheme which will be a boost for Rushden as well as the surrounding towns and villages, including Higham Ferrers and Irthlingborough.

He said: “I can still go up to the town and people are asking what’s happening.

“For the people of Rushden, it is about seeing Rushden Lakes happen.

“We want to create a situation where more people can work locally, shop locally and spend their leisure time here.”

The Rushden East development is another major scheme, which Cllr North says will provide housing as well as protect surrounding villages from unwanted development.

Cllr North said: “It is one of the biggest developments in our area.

“We have got to build houses, the population is growing and people have to live somewhere.

“Rushden East is very important for housing but also jobs.

“We are trying to change the whole face of employment in this area, making it more local and diverse.”

The development is due to go through the core strategy, a document which sets out the overall strategic plan for an area, in the autumn.

With new homes on the way, East Northants Council has its Communities Facilities Fund which distributes money from central government as new homes are built to community-based projects.

Groups and organisations can apply for money through the scheme, which could be for anything from new play equipment to village hall improvements as long as it is community-based.

Cllr North likes to see money going back into the community, and he has several other things he is proud of.

These include council tax not going up for the whole of the last term, free parking is staying in towns across East Northants and he said the council is very pleased with Warth Park in Raunds.

Another development he is looking forward to seeing come to fruition is a new village built on a disused airfield in Deenethorpe.

Although one area where he would like to see something happen is the former home of Rushden & Diamonds at Nene Park.

But Cllr North added: “It’s got to be right and it has to compliment Irthlingborough.”

With lots in the pipeline, Cllr North is looking forward to another term as leader of the authority and added: “There’s plenty going on, it’s really exciting.”