A new town manager has started in her job to promote and improve the retail and leisure offering in Rushden and Higham Ferrers.
Julie Thorneycroft has been appointed as the town manager, a post which has been funded for three years by the developers behind the multi-million pound Rushden Lakes development.
She will be working to promote and improve both towns for shoppers and visitors as well as trying to capitalise on the economic boost expected to come from the Lakes scheme.
The role will see her spending 75 per cent of her time in Rushden and the remainder in Higham Ferrers.
A spokesman for Rushden Town Council said: “Julie has been appointed and is employed by Rushden Town Council and this post has been funded by LXB, the developers of Rushden Lakes.
“Her role is to ensure that Rushden is economically prosperous, dynamic and forward looking for growth, whilst highlighting its unique and historic character.
“Rushden has been identified as a growth area (Rushden East) and we expect substantial growth in the next decade.
“Rushden Lakes, a large retail and leisure development situated on the edge of Rushden, is due to be completed in early 2017 and we are keen for the town to capitalise on this.
“We envisage close working with Rushden Lakes management to develop strategies which will increase the number of visitors to the town.
“The role will also include co-ordination and developing the network of existing town groups, to work with all stakeholders to encourage more activity and improve the retail and leisure offering in the town, to learn from best practices elsewhere, and identify the best use of resources available to deliver this activity.
“Julie will also be supporting our newly formed tourism working party and The Rushden Partnership.”
Julie started the new job last month.
Sandra Mitcham, town clerk for Higham Ferrers, said: “We are excited to have been able to offer this position to Julie, who we feel has the right experience and skills to enhance and grow the public, private and voluntary sector partnerships that are important to Higham Ferrers.
“Finding the right person to manage the town was crucial but we believe we have managed to do that with Julie.”
Julie lives locally and has previous experience in town centre management, having worked within the town centre management team and with the town centre business improvement district in Northampton.
She recently gained a merit certificate in business improvement district management and has successfully delivered many town centre projects, including Northampton in Bloom, Small Business Saturday and Independents Day.
Julie added: “I am very much looking forward to meeting and working with the businesses in Rushden and Higham Ferrers, top of my list is to get up to speed and find out where things currently stand.”
Anyone wanting to contact Julie can email Julie@rushdentowncouncil.gov.uk or call 07398 986951.