The developer behind Rushden Lakes has poured cold water on claims that its plans threaten the viability of the Grosvenor Centre.
Last week the Chron reported that Legal & General, the owners of the Grosvenor Centre, are planning to spend £3 million on improving it.
But a long-awaited extension is still no nearer, and part of the reason for this is Legal & General is unwilling to commit until the Rushden Lakes inquiry is completed.
The proposed site is on the A45, around 20 miles from Northampton, and the developers behind it said it was disingenuous of Northampton Borough Council to complain about out-of-town developments, when it supported similar schemes in Northampton.
These include Next’s proposed expansion at the Riverside retail park; a new M&S food store at Sixfields and a new bike shop, Starbucks and Subway. off Weedon Road.
A source close to Rushden Lakes developer LXB told the Chron: “It was convincingly argued throughout the planning inquiry that the Lakes will attract the vast majority of its visitors from the immediate surrounding catchment, which obviously does not include Northampton.
“The suggestion it is in any way responsible for a lack of development at the Grosvenor Centre or in Northampton town centre is absurd. Rushden Lakes is just the latest convenient excuse following 15 years of broken promises and inactivity.
“The on-going expansion and development of retail parks around the town suggests Northampton’s problems are of their own making and has little to do with a proposal nearly 20 miles away.”
Council leader, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said; “Rushden Lakes would see a 244-acre site transformed into a massive out-of-town shopping location. This not only dwarfs any other out-of-town shopping centre in the area, but is directly opposed to the local plan that East Northamptonshire Council signed up to.
“We have made our case to the Secretary of State, and taken the opportunity to present evidence to the planning inspector to clearly show how any development on the scale of Rushden Lakes would be damaging to the local economies of towns across Northamptonshire and neighbouring areas.”
A decision on the development has been delayed and will now be announced in February next year.