Warning over Rushden Lakes shopping centre planning decision delay

Artist's impression of Rushden Lakes development Rushden Lakes development includes shops, leisure facilities and homes

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A government delay in coming to a decision on a £50m Northamptonshire development could allow in speculative housing plans, a councillor has warned.

The decision on Rushden Lakes shopping centre was expected in February, but no ruling has yet been made.

Terry Freer, of the joint planning committee for the county, said that was delaying the drawing up of a regional plan.

The government said the case remained "under careful consideration".

'Speculative housing'

Mr Freer, who is chairman of the joint planning committee, said: "We want to ensure houses are built in the right place with access to industry, access to schools and access to shopping."

He said the Rushden Lakes development - with shops, housing and leisure facilities - would change what was put in the regional plan.

"Rushden Lakes is purely speculative and not in our current plan. We can't finish the new plan until we factor in Rushden Lakes," he said.

Without a regional plan to say where housing should go, speculative developers would have a greater chance at gaining permission to build homes on sites unsuitable for houses, he said.

A department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "The secretary of state is not in a position to reach a decision on this application and the case remains under careful consideration."

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