Rushden Lakes Inquiry
In October 2012, East Northamptonshire District Council unanimously resolved to grant planning permission at Rushden Lakes for 43,200 sqm of mixed use retail and leisure. The Secretary of State ‘called In’ the application and an inquiry was held in June 2013. Planning has subsequently been granted by the Secretary of State and work is ongoing to enable a start on site in the early part of 2015.
A substantial 244 acre site on the edge of Rushden Lake in Northamptonshire, has a large proportion of the landholding consisting of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (‘SSSI’), and includes 12.5 brownfield hectares. The scheme achieved consent for 31,500 sqm of A1 retail in addition to a Garden Centre, restaurants, a 112 bedroom hotel, a Leisure/Health Club, and a drive through Costa Coffee and it is estimated that the combined leisure, tourism and retail offering will attract over 3 million visitors annually.
Following extensive discussions with the Highways Agency and Northamptonshire County Council, the scheme will include major highway improvement works to the Skew Bridge Roundabout and a pedestrian/cycle footbridge across the A45 dual carriageway.
Additionally, the site will be served by a dedicated bus service, with the reinstatement of the Bailey Bridge across the River Nene. The improvement of footpaths within the site providing greater legibility and access between Rushden and into neighbouring villages and tourist attractions such as Stanwick Lakes.
The SSSI will be integrated with the retail scheme to promote increased ‘dwell time’ by visitors. The combined retail and leisure destination will include a visitors’ centre, a marina and boathouse, footpaths and cycle routes through the SSSI, and access into neighbouring tourist attractions such as Stanwick Lakes. On completion, the £52m investment will create over 2,000 new direct and indirect jobs.