Revised plans for the second phase of Rushden Lakes have been approved unanimously by councillors.
The application for a leisure building to include a 14-screen cinema, indoor trampoline facility, indoor climbing facility and restaurants, as well retail units, cycle hire facilities and associated access and landscaping was considered tonight (Wednesday).
The original proposal for the leisure terrace was approved last March, but LXB Properties, the developer behind Rushden Lakes, went on to reveal plans for an extended leisure terrace in August.
The revised plans were for a 14-screen cinema rather than 12, three additional restaurants, three additional shop units and 461 extra car parking spaces.
However, the plans no longer include a hotel, leisure club, creche and bowling alley.
There were four speakers at tonight’s meeting of East Northants Council’s planning management committee, including ward member Cllr Dorothy Maxwell, who said: “We all know it will have a massive impact on this area and bring much needed employment.”
Cllr David Coleman from Rushden Town Council expressed his disappointment about a hotel no longer being included, but added: “This is the most exciting opportunity Rushden has had for many years.”
Leader of Wellingborough Council Martin Griffiths also spoke, strongly supporting the plans and welcoming the mitigation measures proposed by LXB for Wellingborough town centre.
He also joked: “I just wish it was three miles further west.”
Jon McCarthy from applicant LXB said: “I would like to apologise to Rushden Town Council for not being able to deliver a hotel.”
But he went on to say he hoped Rushden Lakes would be somewhere ‘where local people can work, shop and play both now and for many years to come.’
Members of the committee discussed the revised plans, with some concerns raised including the impact on neighbouring towns such as Raunds and Irthlingborough.
However, there was unanimous support for the new application with councillors voting 14-0 in favour.
Following tonight’s approval, the number of jobs created in the completed development will increase from 2,505 to 3,760.
It also means the number of retail units increasing to 42, the number of restaurants going from 15 to 18 and the number of car parking spaces increasing to 1,889.
Due to the scale of the proposed development, the application will now be referred to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid to consider whether to ‘call in’ the application.
But if Javid decides not to review the decision, LXB said it should be issued planning permission once a Section 106 agreement is signed.