Members of the Yes2RushdenLakes pressure group are celebrating after hearing the £50m shopping and leisure plans have been approved.
The group has been supportive of developer LXB’s plans from the start, saying it would provide a welcome boost for Rushden and the surrounding towns and villages by providing employment for thousands of local people.
Group chairman Helen Danzig took a call from Cllr Andy Mercer, who told her the good news the group has been waiting to hear for so long.
She said: “I am delighted, all my Christmases have come at once.
“Rushden Lakes will bring jobs, opportunities and a bright future.
“Rushden will be partying now.
“I’m absolutely delighted, I couldn’t have asked for any more.”
Jon McCarthy from LXB Retail, the site developers, added: “We are absolutely delighted with today’s news. Our belief in this project was only matched by the support and commitment of all the people of Rushden and the wider East Northants District.
“The Secretary of State has agreed that Rushden deserves better and we look forward to turning our plans into a truly exciting reality.”
The announcement has also been welcomed by Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce.
Alan Piggot, the chamber’s vice president, said: “This is wonderful news for the whole area.
“It will create jobs, putting more money in people’s pockets, and prevent £100 million of ‘leakage’, where money is spent out of the county.
“We believe it will bring more disposable income into Wellingborough town centre sparking a retail boom for our independent traders.
“The chamber’s survey carried out last year showed that more than 80 per cent of Wellingborough firms are expecting growth during the next 12 months.
“Rushden Lakes will bring a further and significant improvement to the local economy.
“Today’s decision represents the dawn of a new era – North Northamptonshire is on the up.”
The £50 million development will be built on a 244-acre plot of brownfield land outside the town, with 31 acres of development land.
There will be a mixture of shops and leisure facilities, including a home and garden centre, shops on three terraces, space for up to four waterfront restaurants, a hotel and creche, a boathouse/activity centre and a lakeside visitors’ centre.