A meeting has been organised by a councillor concerned about parking and traffic issues when Rushden Lakes opens.
Cllr Dorothy Maxwell, who represents Rushden Spencer ward on East Northants Council, has sent letters to 600 households in Rushden about tomorrow’s (Thursday) meeting.
She is concerned there will not be enough parking, particularly for staff, at the £140 million retail and leisure development opening soon.
Other worries she has include whether the surrounding roads will be able to cope with the increased volume of traffic and people parking on roads nearby if all the parking spaces at Rushden Lakes are taken.
Cllr Maxwell said: “I want to see Rushden Lakes succeed because it is a fabulous place, but we need these other issues sorted out.
“My concerns are for the residents of Rushden and I am passionate about their needs being met, as well as looking out for small businesses.”
While LXB, the developer behind Rushden Lakes, has put money towards public transport which will serve the site and there is a new footbridge crossing the A45 for pedestrian access, Cllr Maxwell doesn’t think the 1,200 parking spaces for the first phase of the scheme will be enough.
She fears people will look to park elsewhere and this will impact on businesses nearby such as Waitrose, the Needle & Awl and Colemans craft warehouse.
A spokesman for East Northants Council said: “We are aware of the meeting that Cllr Maxwell has organised for Thursday, June 29.
“She is not speaking on behalf of East Northamptonshire Council but as a Rushden Spencer ward member.
“ENC will not be represented at the meeting as Cllr Maxwell has called this for her ward residents.
“We’re aware of the issues around parking and access and can confirm that the relevant organisations are working hard to get them resolved.
“The car parks and access roads to the Rushden Lakes development were designed to include staff and customer car parking.
“Crown Estates, who now own Rushden Lakes, have stated on their website that there will be a maximum stay of five hours.
“We’re aware that, at peak times, there is already an existing parking issue in the Crown Park area for the businesses (and their staff) located there and this is being looked at by the many organisations involved in making this exciting development a huge success.”
The spokesman added that the consultation on traffic regulation notices is available at Rushden Library and people have until July 8 to comment.
A spokesman for Rushden Town Council said: “We are aware of the meeting that Cllr Maxwell has organised for Thursday, June 29.
“She is not speaking on behalf of Rushden Town Council but as an ENC Rushden Spencer ward member.
“Obviously, Rushden Town Council ward members and indeed town council residents of Spencer ward are entitled to attend but we have no details of attendance at this time.
“Rushden Town Council is aware of parking issues in relation to the Rushden Lakes development and are working hard with all relevant organisations to get them resolved.”
A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Over the course of the redevelopment of Rushden Lakes, there has been a number of planning applications and variations considered by East Northants Council associated with this site.
“As with all such developments the county council is just one of many statutory consultees in the planning process and ultimately the planning committee must satisfy themselves that all matters have been addressed or considered before granting approval for permitted development.
“We are aware that the owners of the site have advised that they are working closely with all of the new shops to ensure the customer car park is as accessible as possible for visitors to Rushden Lakes and this will be continually monitored.
“It has been agreed with East Northants Council, the town council and councillors in the area that the parking situation will be monitored and if problems do arise, further options to address local concerns will be considered in consultation with residents.”
Tomorrow’s meeting starts at 7pm at Rushden Bowls Club in Northampton Road.