Rushden Lakes: Politicians react to ‘Yes’ decision

An aerial view of Rushden Lakes
An aerial view of Rushden Lakes

The leader of Rushden Town Council says common sense has prevailed with the Lakes plans being given the go-ahead.

Cllr Sarah Peacock, leader of Rushden Town Council, believes Eric Pickles’ decision is the right one and she couldn’t be happier for the people of Rushden and surrounding areas.

She said: “It’s absolutely brilliant, today is the best day ever.

“Common sense and localism has actually worked.

“We had almost given up hope, and as much as we wanted to remain positive, you always get that doubt.

“It is the right decision with the amount of support there was for it, I don’t think there could have been any other decision.

“The whole town and the district will benefit from it, it will bring us employment.

“So often Rushden has been bypassed, but this is going to put the town of Rushden on the map.”

Cllr Peacock said the decision will not only provide provide jobs, boost the economy and offer a major new shopping and leisure complex, it will also help other developments in the area move forward.

She said: “Now we can move forward with other development in the area.

“I think common sense has prevailed and the right decision has been made.

“It will be brilliant to see the work start.”

Cllr Paul Bell, leader of Wellingborough Council, also welcomed the news.

He said: “We are really pleased with the news.

“Wellingborough Council agreed unanimous, cross-party support for the project back in April last year.

“We were involved in the public inquiry and we’ve followed the whole process closely.

“We’re delighted that this decision has been made and we’re really looking forward to the project getting started.

“A lot of borough residents voiced support for Rushden Lakes and we agreed with them.

“The project will create jobs and opportunities, it will encourage visitors to the area, and it will make a real contribution to the economic development and regeneration of our borough.

“It’s yet another show of confidence that this area is open for business and attracting investment.”

However, Corby Council leader Tom Beattie said the authority was disappointed with the result, although they would not be appealing against the decision said:

“It is disappointing news and we will now digest the decision before commenting, however, it is unlikely we will be offering any challenge to the decision.

“Corby Town Centre provides an excellent shopping experience, particularly through the Willow Place shopping mall, where there is a number of national retail shops, including Primark and TK Maxx.

“The town centre also offers top class leisure facilities at the Core Theatre in the Corby Cube and at Corby East Midlands International Pool, which will be further improved by the multi screen cinema which is due to open by February 2015.”

Cllr Russell Roberts, leader of Kettering Council, said the authority had received the report today and would be reading through its contents before making a fuller statement early next week.

He added: “Kettering was a great place to shop yesterday, it is a great place to shop today and it will be an even better place to shop tomorrow. We have got new shops coming into the town and ongoing projects like the pedestrianisation work – as well as a great programme of summer events planned.”

Kettering Council voted to oppose the Rushden Lakes scheme in 2012.

Cllr David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, which opposed the plans, has told the Northants Telegraph the authority would not be appealing the decision to approve the development.

He said: “The Rushden Lakes development has the potential to damage towns around the county but we accept this decision and are ready to move forward.

“Obviously we in Northampton were opposed to the Rushden Lakes development because we thought it would impact on the town centre.

“But we are ready to move forward with our plans to develop the town centre. We remain committed to developing Northampton.”

He added: “Having the certainty over Rushden Lakes will help. For a long time this has been delaying progress in Northampton and Rushden. To have some clarity helps.

“We accept this decision and are moving forward.”

Member of the European Parliament Derek Clark said: “Having spoken in favour of this development at the inquiry a few months ago I am very pleased at the outcome.

“Northampton Borough Council opposed this development because, evidently, it thought it would lead to a reduction of trade in the town. As I said previously if that does happen it is entirely the fault of the borough council.

“After all, Northampton is many times bigger than Rushden and its surroundings and should therefore have all the facilities which are to be provided at Rushden Lakes.

“If the town is so unattractive to local people that they are prepared to make the journey out to this development in the neighbourhood of Skew Bridge, then that tells you more about the borough council than it does about the developers of this new project.”