A major new retail and leisure destination that Projex has been working on since 2011 has finally received the go ahead from communities secretary Eric Pickles.
The £50m Rushden Lakes Shopping Park will be one of the biggest out of town schemes to start on site in the UK in 2014 and involves a new type of sustainably-led garden centre, retail and leisure destination. It will create over 2,000 new direct and indirect jobs.
Projex was appointed in 2011 by developer LXB, the Jersey-based retail investment specialist, to project manage and provide cost consultancy advice on the 244-acre site, which expects to attract more than three million visitors a year once open. LXB purchased the site for £4.5m in May 2011.
Located alongside the A45 on the edge of Rushden in Northamptonshire, the majority of the site is a Site of Special Scientific interest and LXB are in discussions with both the Wildlife Trust and the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) to manage the SSSI and the visitor centre.
The retail and leisure element will comprise a 74,000 sq ft home and garden centre, 240,000 sq ft of retail units across three terraces, a drive-thru restaurant, lakeside visitor centre and restaurants. A hotel, crèche and leisure club will also be included.
The SSSI will be integrated with the retail scheme to promote increased ‘dwell time’ by visitors and 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.
Director Phil Tomalin explains that the company is delighted to be involved in such a prestigious development, which will be a prominent Midlands leisure, tourism and retail destination when completed.
“It is great news for LXB and ourselves to finally get going on The Lakes. It will be a fantastic scheme to work on and, ultimately, to visit.”
Jon McCarthy, development director at LXB, hopes the scheme will be a catalyst for further development across the region. He says: “We have been working behind the scenes for some time now and are delighted that this exciting development has now got the go ahead.”
The Rushden Lakes scheme was referred to communities secretary Eric Pickles after receiving initial planning approval in a unanimous vote by East Northamptonshire District Council in 2012.