Wellingborough Council is expected to add its support to Rushden Lakes later this month, and urge other councils to do the same.
The council had previously decided that it would ‘not oppose’ the scheme when members of its planning committee were asked their opinion last year.
But Cllr Paul Bell, the leader of Wellingborough Council, told the Telegraph that the Conservative-led council, backed by the borough’s Labour councillors, will move a motion to support the Lakes development at a meeting on Tuesday, April 16.
Cllr Bell said: “On April 16 a motion will be put to the full council in support of Rushden Lakes, and call upon other boroughs in the region to support it.”
The development has been opposed by borough councils in Northampton, Kettering and Corby.
East Northamptonshire Council approved planning permission last October. It’s leader, Cllr Steven North, said: “It’s very much needed for employment and jobs.”
Following a review of that decision by the secretary of state, a Government planning inspector will have the final say on the development at a hearing set to start at East Northamptonshire Council’s Thrapston headquarters on June 25.
The issue was discussed by politicians when the Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps visited Wellingborough last week. He said: “My view is that it looks like a sensible development. It supports a lot of jobs.”
Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, said: “We’ve had 2,007 people write to me in support of Rushden Lakes, which is the biggest response I’ve ever known. I’m sending them all on to the inspector. It’s 2,000 jobs, major stores and a wonderful leisure park. People in Wellingborough care about it too, not just people in Rushden.”
Corby, Kettering, East Northamptonshire and Wellingborough councils will all soon have to agree on a core spatial strategy, which sets out the overall strategic plan for the planning authorities until 2031.
The Yes2RushdenLakes campaign group was recently formed with the aim of urging people to write to the planning inspector who will decide the fate of the scheme, in order to demonstrate the level of support for it locally.
Send your views to Helen Skinner, The Planning Inspectorate, 3/02 Wing Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS16PN, or email email@example.com. Quote the reference number:APP/G2815/V/12/2190175.