East Northamptonshire has certainly been put on the map in the past couple of years says commercial property agent Prop-Search,, with inward investment pouring into the region, particularly through the representation of key retailers and businesses. This sustained growth has continued to bring benefits for local people through job creation and overall improvement of prosperity.
The emphasis on the development of the visitor economy has be a key factor; a prime example being the inimitable Rushden Lakes shopping and leisure scheme, which is drawing people into the region, increasing tourism spending and bringing new employment opportunities. It brings together the very best in retail, leisure and dining; set beside a 200 acre nature reserve and lakes with visitors able to enjoy shopping, walking, alfresco dining and a range of other leisure activities including cycling and canoeing.
Samantha Jones, an Associate Director of Prop-Search, said: “Since the launch of Rushden Lakes in July 2017, it now comprises some 450,000 sq ft of built space, which has attracted local independents as well as many well-established major brands. These include Marks & Spencer, Next, Primark, House of Fraser, Boots, JD Sports and White Stuff – as well as eateries such as Bills, Wildwood, Pizza Express and Bewiched coffee.”
This year the West Terrace has opened featuring a Cineworld IMAX 14-screen cinema and further leisure operators including 360 Play, indoor climbing centre Rock Up, Paradise Island Adventure Gold and Flip out trampoline park. These are complemented by a further host of well-known restaurants such as TGI Fridays, Starbucks, Nandos, Heavenly Desserts, Five Guys and Zizzi. Further openings from are expected later this year.
Flowing from the South Terrace, a landscaped piazza – known as the Garden Square – offers 10 further retail units, totalling 30,000 sq ft, which have already attracted inspiring brands such as Beaverbrooks, Skechers, Hotter, Jones Bootmakers and Three – with Barbour also expected to open shortly. As the name suggests, Garden Square features a unique enclosed garden space for visitors to enjoy; the concept being to provide a quiet, green space for shoppers that could also be transformed into a location for outdoor events and pop-up shops.
A prominent commercial site on the A6 bypass with John Clark Way, close to Rushden town centre, has been purchased by Birmingham based developer, Godwin Developments. The 1.7 acre roundabout site is currently vacant and a planning application has subsequently been submitted, and just approved, for the development of a petrol filling station with drive-thru restaurant. The end users are currently unknown.
A new retail development anchored by a Co-op convenience store in Irthlingborough has been purchased for £2.5m by Nottingham-based Bassi Property Group. Built by Paragon Property Development Company, the new retail development comprises a 10,000 sq ft space let to Central England Co-operative for a food store and funeral home which opened in November last year following the development’s completion. The site was originally purchased in 2014 by Paragon Property and despite having a planning consent for a 40,000 sq ft Morrisons superstore, the site had remained vacant since 2007 when the former shoe factory was destroyed in a fire.
Situated on the popular and established Warth Park at Raunds, a high quality single let logistics unit of 42,528 sq ft has been acquired by Southampton City Council for £8.2 million. The modern well specified ‘cross-dock’ unit was developed in 2013 and benefits from a minimum clear eaves height of 6m, 26 level access loading doors, 5 dock level loadings doors, 65 car, 10 HGV and 56 van parking spaces. It is leases with an additional 19,886 sq ft overflow car park to DPD Group UK on two co-terminous full repairing and insuring leases – expiring 08 September 2033 – at £424,548 per annum.
Also on Warth Park, with surrounding occupiers including Howdens UK Limited, AirWair International, DSV, Gem Distribution Limited and Asda, plans have recently been approved for a new £8m Enterprise Centre which is expected to create about hundreds of new jobs. East Northamptonshire Council has secured permission from its own planning committee for a three-storey building which will be a hub for 90 start-up businesses. The plans include a total of 27,000 sq ft of space, comprising 17,500 sq ft of offices and 9,500 sq ft of business starter units. The current proposals also include a total of 114 car parking spaces.
The proposed Centre is specifically targeted at the needs of small businesses in the area and is part of the East Northamptonshire Council’s ongoing programme of development. It is envisaged, based on the scale of this development and the current economic climate, that the proposed centre of starter units will provide support for a range of local businesses and approximately 200 people.