Further to my previous letter, I see Northampton Council is stepping up its efforts to block the proposed Rushden Lakes development.
Using its cajoling powers that normally apply to a bully, it seems to be stirring up Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough.
It’s all about potential lost revenue from their admittedly poor shopping facilities. They have all had a go with their own malls and designated ‘quarters’.
Northampton in the 1970s when a medium sized market town had grafted on to it the wall of concrete that is the Grosvenor Centre and Northampton House, completely wrecking the area to the north of the Market Square. Only now do they want to do something about it having lost too much ground to Milton Keynes – note the Milton Keynes reference in their argument towards Rushden Lakes.
Kettering with its Newlands/Newborough Centre and the windswept plaza by the clock tower. The Market Square became isolated and with the stupid bus bays adjacent to the centre, the bus station was closed. The market lost its direct feed of shoppers and is a shadow of its former self.
Wellingborough with the Arndale/Swansgate Centre and its featureless wall down Midland Road. All the small shops on that side disappeared and it lost its vitality. Similarly, Morrison’s along Oxford Street. These two contributed also in destroying a really good central market.
Corby with its glitzy showbiz redevelopment of the Cube and Willow Place – not yet finished – with the corpse of the old bus station not yet buried. However, the damage had already been done to the town centre and market by the out of town Asda Retail Park.
Corby struggles to realise that it is only there because of the iron ore and steel. Its town centre only had to serve the local population and as it never has been at the junction of major road connections should stop trying to promote itself above its station. The station that only goes to Kettering, when the trains actually run.
With all this taken into consideration, they should stop bleating and allow Rushden its place in the sun and develop its own project. Not that Rushden is without blame as the Asda store was built in the wrong place and should have been at the top of John Clark Way near the bypass.
But that doesn’t mean to say it shouldn’t have a go at bringing some major stores close to hand.
The A45 Higham bypass was the major factor, initially, in the decline of Rushden High Street as customers from Irthlingborough, Raunds and Thrapston could now speed to other destinations, guess where, Wellingborough and Northampton!
As a small town Rushden also has two other areas of life where its residents are forced to travel for their services, namely a cinema and hospital.
So instead of using Rushden as a whipping boy, other councils might like to see what they already have and not act as cats that want all the cream.