Trickle of shops moving to Rushden Lakes could be a 'flood' if Northampton doesn't act

Councillor Arthur McCutcheon said the town needs a USP or will see other shops head the way of Two Seasons.
Councillor Arthur McCutcheon said the town needs a USP or will see other shops head the way of Two Seasons.
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Northampton needs to carve itself out a shopping niche soon or watch a 'trickle' of shops heading to Rushden Lakes become a 'flood'.

Last week designer surf and skate clothing store Two Seasons launched a closing down sale after revealing it would be relocating to the massive shopping development off the A45.

Will the Grosvenor Centre, once dubbed the engine room of Northampton, survive when Rushden Lakes opens?

Will the Grosvenor Centre, once dubbed the engine room of Northampton, survive when Rushden Lakes opens?

But there are fears the shop could be the first of many to feel the allure of the £140 million new site.

At the last full council meeting shadow cabinet member for regeneration at Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Arthur McCutcheon (Lab, Headlands) gave a speech about declining trade in the town.

He believes Northampton needs to establish itself as a shopping destination fast before other shops go the way of Two Seasons.

“We are concerned about the impact of Rushden Lakes on the town centre and our retail outlets such as Riverside Park," he said.

"One shop has now closed down in the Grosvenor Centre saying they are moving to Rushden Lakes and our fear is that this trickle will become a flood.

"Northampton town centre desperately needs to develop a unique selling point, a USP. We need bold ideas as to how Northampton town centre can compete with Rushden Lakes and Milton Keynes."

Grosvenor Centre bosses Legal and General are understood to have a retailer lined up to take over the Two Seasons premises on the top floor of the centre opposite the Costa Coffee outlet.

However, it is not yet known who that will be.

Peter Gaynor, the Grosvenor Centre manager, said: "Over the last six months the Centre has welcomed a number of new retailers including MenKind, the upsizing of our Superdry store, The Entertainer, Office Shoes, Zapato Lounge and Cards Direct.”

“Although Two Seasons will be leaving the shopping centre, the Grosvenor Centre is now at 88 per cent capacity and we’re continually looking to introduce new retailers into the Centre to further improve the retail experience for our shoppers.”

Councillor McCutcheon said the success of the Greyfriars development will be key to helping Northampton compete with Rushden Lakes, which will have 43 shops and restaurants, including well-known names such as Marks & Spencer, H&M, Next, New Look and Primark.

All of those major names already have outlets in Northampton.

"I fear that if Northampton doesn’t compete then footfall and quality shops will gradually decline," said Councillor McCutcheon. "This is why getting the Greyfriars site development right is critical to the future of the town centre.”

Several of you have been commenting on the state of the town via our Facebook page.

Reader Helen Roche said the Two Seasons move 'rather puts a hole' in the theory that around 2,000 county council staff - now relocated in Angel Street - would rejuvenate the town.

She said: "I can't wait for the lakes to open as I've not shopped properly in town for years, not because I don't want to there's just not been the investment of our town since Peacock Place."

And Alex George wrote: "Who cares? Good! Build the place so we have somewhere nice to go instead of having to wander past Poundstretcher, Betfred and Greggs."