Taken from the Rushden Lakes Facebook Page:
What is It?
Rushden Lakes is a complex of former gravel pits and countryside. The 244 acres now consist of lakes, walks, a disused dry ski-slope, and shrub land.
Where is It?
Rushden Lakes is on the northern edge of Rushden, roughly between the River Nene, the A45, the A6 and Ditchford Lane.
Close by are the towns of Rushden, Irthlingborough, Wellingborough and Higham Ferrers. Also close are Raunds, Irchester and Stanwick.
What Will It Become?
If it receives planning permission, Rushden Lakes will become a leisure, retail and wildlife complex.
Reasons to Support Rushden Lakes
The idea of Rushden Lakes has been around for years. It was first proposed in the mid-90’s. Just as now, the rival Boroughs opposed it. On that occasion, they were successful, and managed to kill it.
• 2000+ Jobs
Rushden Lakes will generate around 1340 jobs directly, and around 1000 indirectly. This is the biggest economic boost to the area for at a least a generation.
• Economic Growth
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said that economic growth is the Number 1 Priority of the Planning System. Rushden Lakes is funded, deliverable and ready to go.
Rushden Lakes will create a number of apprenticeships for young people, giving them an entry into a trade.
• Waitrose Roundabout Widened to 3 Lanes
The Waitrose roundabout will be widened (in both directions) to 3 lanes.
• New Slip-Road Bypassing Waitrose Roundabout
A slip round will be built from the Higham road directly onto Northampton Road, bypassing the roundabout completely.
A hotel will be built as part of the complex. It will fill two roles:
a) It will foster tourism in the area. (E.g. German parties regularly visit the area during Twinning exchanges, but they struggle to find hotels)
b) It will encourage economic growth. Some large companies will not move to Rushden because there is nowhere for their executives to.
• Footbridge over the A45
A footbridge will be built over the A45. This will let people walk or cycle from Rushden/Higham.
• Greenway Connections Across A45 and Nene River
The Councils have spent years creating a network of “green” paths linking up the area. Money from Rushden Lakes will fund links across the A45, across the new complex and across the Nene.
• Modal Shift
At Rushden Lakes, local people can shop locally instead of driving 20 or 30 miles. This will contribute massively to meeting the County’s target for Modal Shift.
The complex will include a crèche, which will make it much easier for parents to shop.
• Improved Bus Services
The Schem will fund better bus services, allowing residents without cars to get to shops/work much more easily.
• Leisure Centre
A leisure centre will be included in the complex, which will enhance the area’s attraction as a tourist destination.
• Protection for the SSSi and Ramsar Sites
The Rushden Lakes site includes several areas of importance for wildlife. At present, they are unprotected and vulnerable. If Rushden Lakes proceeds, they will be enhanced and protected, and the current fly tipping will be ended.
• Regeneration of the Towns in the South of East Northamptonshire
When the Steel Industry died, Corby received massive infusions of State and EU aid to regenerate the Town. Rushden and its hinterland were equally dependent on a single industry, the shoe industry. (Once, they made over half the shoes in the world!) When that industry died in the 80s/90s, nobody and nothing came to their rescue (unlike Corby!)
Ever since, East Northamptonshire Council and the local Town Councils have been trying to breathe life back into the local economies. Rushden Lakes is the first realistic chance to do so.
• Lakes/Boating/Nature/etc Tourism
Developing tourism in the area is priority. Rushden Lakes is key to this plan. A boathouse will be built and there will be non-motorised boating on one of the lakes.
• Refurbished Bridge Over the Nene
The nearby bridge over the Nene will be refurbished and the walkways reinstated, which will restore pedestrian/cycle access from Irthlingborough for customers and workers.
• Reversing Rushden’s Descent into Dormitory Status
The demise of its dominant trade (the shoe industry) has been turning Rushden into a dormitory town, which is unsustainable in the long-term. Rushden Lakes will mark the reversal of this trend.
There is currently an inquiry going on regarding the development, with the pros and cons being aired before a decision is made.
Let us know your thoughts on the development.