'Options' being considered for future of Wilko building in Rushden town centre

Discussions are said to be taking place with interested parties
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Discussions are taking place over the future of the recently vacated Wilko building in Rushden town centre.

Wilko used to trade from one of the units in Eaton Walk, just off the High Street and part of the town's main shopping area.

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But following the collapse of the discount homeware retailer in August, shoppers were sad to see the Rushden store close last month and left asking questions over the future of the site.

The former Wilko store in Eaton Walk, RushdenThe former Wilko store in Eaton Walk, Rushden
The former Wilko store in Eaton Walk, Rushden

The former East Northants Council bought the site in 2017, but ownership passed to North Northants Council (NNC) when the new unitary authority came into existence in April 2021.

A spokesman for NNC has given the Northants Telegraph an update on the current situation with the building.

The spokesman said: “North Northamptonshire Council owns the buildings in Eaton Walk, Rushden.

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"There have been discussions with Wilko's administrators and the authority is considering options for the space.

"We are in discussion with interested parties for the unit and will update further in due course.”

When East Northants Council bought the site in June 2017, it described it as a 'key strategic site' in the centre of Rushden.

The authority said the purchase of the site, occupied by Wilko and Iceland at the time before the frozen food store relocated to the High Street in January 2021, was part of the council’s Enterprising East Northamptonshire initiative to drive economic growth across the district.

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Speaking at the time, council leader Steven North said: “This is a win win situation; not only are we reducing the burden on local council taxpayers by securing ongoing rental income, but we’re now well-placed, as landowners, to lead and drive forward projects that will reinvigorate Rushden town centre to ensure that we maximise the opportunities presented by the Rushden Lakes Scheme.

"I’m very keen to ensure that we play a leading role in shaping the future prospects of the district and critical to this will be new ways of working.”

While some of Wilko’s 400 stores are set to become Poundland shops after being snapped up by The Pepco Group and B&M is buying some of the others, it is not yet clear what the future holds for the Rushden store.