NORTHAMPTON Council is set to strongly object to the Rushden Lakes plans and has suggested the developers behind it should have looked at the possibility of building the scheme in its own town.
The council says the scheme would compete for trade with, and draw trade away from, Northampton town centre and the Weston Favell Shopping Centre.
The £50m Rushden Lakes development, which is being put forward by LXB Retail Properties, is set to create more than 1,500 jobs.
The plan features 20 shops, a garden centre, a visitor centre, a hotel, restaurants and a boat house.
Neighbouring councils are being asked their views on the plan, which has been submitted to East Northamptonshire Council.
In the Northampton Council response, it says: “Put simply, when assessing alternative, sequentially preferable, sites the applicants should have examined Northampton.”
The report says that the developer’s failure to do this should amount to a reason for the plan to be refused.
Wellingborough and Rushden MP Peter Bone said: “It’s good for Rushden and Wellingborough and the surrounding areas, it will create thousands of jobs, an excellent retail environment and a tourist destination. I don’t see how anybody can possibly object to that.
“As for the suggestions that Northampton is to lose business because of it, we run a market economy where companies go to the areas they think they will do best.”
Mr Bone said he was unhappy with the suggestion that the developers should have looked at Northampton. He said: “They have no God given right for everything to go there. I find their attitude extremely disappointing. I find it an extraordinary attempt to deprive our area of much-needed investment.”
Rushden town councillor and chairman of Rushden Chamber of Trade, Adrian House, said: “With all the sites that Northampton have got it’s just very sad that they can’t look after their own patch and allow us a little bit. I think it’s very, very rich that they have the gall to object.”
LXB spokesman Gavin Stollar said: “It is not realistic to conclude that people in Northampton, where there is a much larger scale and choice of retail facilities will really come in masses to a relatively small scheme at Rushden.”