Secretary of state approves controversial Rushden Lakes shopping development

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The Rushden Lakes development, which had been opposed by Northampton Borough Council, has been given the go-ahead by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Eric Pickles is set to visit the Skew Bridge site this afternoon at the request of MP Peter Bone and Tom Pursglove, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Corby and East Northamptonshire.

Mr Pickles will meet councillors, campaigners and supporters of the Rushden Lakes proposal.

This morning it was announced the bid for a mixture of shops, leisure facilities and a home and garden centre, will be approved.

MP Peter Bone tweeted: “2000 new jobs, major retail outlets and superb new leisure facilities. Listening Campaign delivers! #RushdenLakes.”

In October 2012, East Northamptonshire councillors voted unanimously to grant planning permission for the development.

However, under planning rules, the application was referred to the Secretary of State who said the decision should be reviewed at a public inquiry.

During the 12-day hearing last July, planning inspector Harold Stephens heard from development and planning experts, MPs, district councillors and residents.

Representatives employed by Northampton’s Grosvenor Centre and the consortium of Corby, Kettering and Northampton councils argued against it.

If approved, Rushden Lakes will be developed on a 244-acre plot of brownfield land, with 31 acres of development land.

There would be shops on three terraces, space for up to four waterfront restaurants, a hotel and creche, a boathouse/activity centre and a lakeside visitors’ centre.