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East Northants: A skyline of construction

Ongoing construction of Rushden Lakes

Cranes currently pepper the skyline in East Northamptonshire with earth movers assembled, as new development takes shape to attract and support new and growing businesses, as well as making a major contribution to the local economy.

The new 14 screen multi-plex cinema under construction at the inimitable Rushden Lakes shopping and leisure scheme, towers on the horizon - standing some 28 metres high.  Cineworld will take occupation of this early next year as anchor tenant of the 150,000 sq ft second phase fronting the A45 in Rushden.  The company will be supported by other leisure operators including Flipout for a 28,912 sq ft trampoline centre and an indoor climbing centre - with 26 walls up to eight metres and soft play - to be operated by Rock-up.  Handover for fit out to seven chain restaurant operators is also scheduled for later this year - these include Nandos, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, TGI Fridays, Five Guys and Zizzi.

Due to planning delays, Phase 3 will be delivered ahead of this and will see store openings by Decathlon, Wren Kitchens, Cotswold Outdoors and AJ Cycles.  AJ Cycles is already open with Decathalon opening at the end of August.

The 230,000 sq ft first phase of Rushden Lakes, which only completed a year ago, is now almost 100% occupied.  Wagamama and Magazine Heaven have recently opened and the terms agreed for the planned expansion of the branded clothing retailer Robert Goddard, into a neighbouring retail unit of some 2,350 sq ft.

A hybrid planning application for a fourth phase on land to the West of Rushden Lakes has recently been submitted to East Northamptonshire Council.  To be known as Rushden Living, it is being pitched as an employment, leisure, food & beverage and retail destination, becoming a major contributor to the wider sustainability of East Northamptonshire.  It is anticipated to create up to 712 new jobs and provide an economic benefit to the area of over £17 million. 

Samantha Jones, an Associate Director of Prop-Search, said: "The proposed development will comprise the erection of 130,000 sq ft of floorspace across a range of unit sizes.  Smaller units would be arranged around a central pedestrian area with larger buildings on the perimeter of the site.  Proposed uses include retail and restaurant uses alongside employment, physiotherapy and leisure.  It is the intention that the larger retail units would be occupied predominately by national furniture and home furnishing retailers, with the smaller retail units suitable for local/regional independents e.g. arts, crafts, antiques, artisans.  The employment floorspace will provide the opportunity for local manufacturers and office users to become part of the destination.  The plans also include a new link road connecting the site with Ditchford Lane, which would also act as an alternative means to access into Rushden Lakes."

On an adjacent site, development specialist Ashfield Land has submitted a planning application for a major new commercial scheme known as Rushden Gateway.  The project - estimated to create approximately 500 new jobs - is for the development of some 28 acres to include retail and business space, as well as a 60-bed care-home.  The detailed application includes a new 18,600 sq ft food-store, 24,800 sq ft of retail floorspace, a 2,000 sq ft drive-thru restaurant, as well as 200,000 sq ft of business space. 

Prop-Search, as letting agent, has confirmed that the scheme, subject to planning, will be anchor by the discounted supermarket chain Aldi.  As well as the retail element of the scheme, business units ranging from circa 5,000 sq ft to 80,000 sq ft will be available and squarely aimed at addressing the chronic shortage of business space within the local market.

Aldi has also commenced construction of a new 13,500 sq ft foodstore on the outskirts of Irthlingborough at Diamond Way.  Steelwork for the building is up, with an opening scheduled early next year.

Tritax Big Box REIT has recently completed a deal to acquire and forward fund the development of two new distribution warehouse facilities at Warth Park, in Raunds, Northamptonshire.  Contracts were originally exchanged, conditional on planning in December 2016, however, completion was delayed due to a prolonged challenge to the planning consent, which has now been cleared.  The purchase price represents a net initial yield of 5% upon completion of the leases - pre-lets under two separate 30 year leases to Howdens Joinery Group.

The two distribution facilities, which will stand adjacent to one another and to the company’s existing Howdens facility, are under separate freehold titles and will be completed with target gross internal floor areas of 657,000 sq ft and 300,000 sq ft, respectively.  Completion of the two facilities is due to take approximately 21 months with completion of the two new leases expected by winter 2019.  Once completed, these three high specification facilities totalling 1.6 million sq ft will provide Howdens with a ‘centre of excellence’ for its national supply chain operations.

Also at Warth Park, fronting the A45, construction is now well underway on a new drive-thru restaurant.  A franchise of the fast food giant KFC will take occupation later this year.

Further information or advice can be obtained from Prop-Search - Tel: 01933 223300 / 01604 492000 or its website: www.prop-search.com


17 August 2018