'Temporary solution' could allow Rushden Lakes leisure terrace businesses to open
The owners of Rushden Lakes say they are looking at a temporary fix which would allow businesses closed since Storm Ciara to reopen.
The leisure terrace - which houses the shopping centre's flagship cinema and several restaurants - has been closed since a piece of exterior cladding was pulled loose by gale force winds on February 9.
No re-opening date was put on the terrace and this morning (Friday) Rushden Lakes confirmed Cineworld, Starbucks, Paradise Island Adventure Golf, Flip Out, Rock Up, Heavenly Desserts, TGI Fridays, Hopmaster, Nando's, Zizzi, Five Guys, Blue Mountain Yard and Greggs would remain closed until further notice.
But a 'temporary solution' to allow them to re-open is currently being reviewed by health and safety experts.
The Crown Estate’s head of retail operations, Jo Francis, said: “During the recent extreme weather brought by Storm Ciara, the leisure terrace at Rushden Lakes was damaged when a piece of exterior cladding was pulled loose by the strong winds. We worked with the local fire brigade to evacuate and close the immediate area.
"Since then The Crown Estate, together with the company who built Rushden Lakes, have been working to investigate and fix the damage. To do this it has been necessary for us to keep the leisure terrace and the adjoining restaurants closed.
"Detailed investigations by independent experts are under way, although progress has been hampered by the continuing bad weather. Next week we will have a better understanding of the damage to the building, the repairs which are required and any other potential risks.
"We know that the closures are having a significant impact on our businesses and restaurants, and are extremely sorry for this. Health and safety is always our absolute priority, and the closures at Rushden Lakes are a necessary precaution to safeguard people who are working at and visiting the centre.
"While investigation works are ongoing, we are looking at a temporary solution which would enable access to the leisure building and allow the businesses to reopen. This solution is currently being reviewed by our health and safety specialists."
New restaurant Lago Lounge has twice had to put back its opening date because it is on the end of the leisure terrace.
Soft play centre 360 Play voiced their frustration at the closure.
The rest of Rushden Lakes’ stores and restaurants are open as normal.