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Article by Paul Wright, July 2018
Rushden Lakes
Part 2 - 2017-2018

The roundabout at Rushden lakes has seen its fair share of heavy traffic since the opening of the "Rushden Lakes" scheme, work started on the slip road coming down from the original "Lidl" store. The tarmac work was coming to an end as we edged into the first week of September 2017.

But alas this part of the work seemed to have come to an abrupt end, the road surface was more or less filled with "plant and machinery", and building materials, and this continued for many weeks.

The start of East terrace
During the snow.....

As we entered the second week of October  2017, it was still unopened as a slip road, but was looking like a sort of storage facility for the ongoing works.

So as summer came to an end in 2017, the cinema is underway, and the road layout is coming along at a more sedate pace than may had been desired? The road lay outs do seem to be causing lots of anxiety, especially over the weekend periods.

Further development news as we reached mid October; that trendy Superdry is now making its way to Rushden Lakes, and they were looking to be on board by November, 2017.

Right at the very end of October local residents received a flyer from Rushden Lakes regarding a new link road to the Lakes shopping site.

This is proposed to feed off at Ditchford Lane and avoid the totally "inadequate" roundabout at busy periods at Skew Bridge/Waitrose.

At certain times of the day, this has put the backs up of many a motorist who are either trying to get in, or out of the Lakes, with many vowing never wanting to make a return.

An exhibition was being held from 14.00-20.00 at Canoe 2 on Wednesday 8th November, 2017.

Pile driving work is going on to the right as we drive in, as December came the steelwork was showing its battle ship grey paintwork. This would later be named as the East Terrace.

During the early morning of Wednesday 3rd January 2018, thousands of homes were without power in other parts of the country, and travel had been disrupted after Storm Eleanor swept across the UK. Locally we had gusts of well over 50 mph, and some branches were blown off of trees.

Tuesday 16th January, 2018 and plans were submitted to ENDC for full planning permission to construct a much needed link road in to Rushden Lakes. This will be between Ditchford Road and the shopping area, also included in the plan will be footpaths, lighting and cycleways.

The weather continued to make its presence felt during the back end of January, with another batch of stormy weather, this time in the shape of Storm Georgina. This went through our area with gusts of 50 mph.

A really cold spell of weather in the week starting 5th February, night time lows were dipping to around minus 5C, but with sunny nippy days, and we were seeing the cinema coming along from the surrounding areas, and it is looking quite a tall and impressive place.

Meanwhile the buildings of the East Terrace were being cladded, as can be seen in the shots. This was also known as Terrace D, and will include Hobbycraft, Cotswold Outdoors, Decathlon, Wren Living, and finally AJ Cycles the local firm from Higham Ferrers.

access platform
Work well underway...
Framework completed

Building work was hampered in the last week of February, 2018, as the whole country was caught in a snowy and icy blast. This was a really cold front coming from Siberia, and was dubbed by the media and Met Office as "the Beast from the East". This was all made even more severe by the arrival of yet another storm, in the shape of "Emma". Daytime temperatures stayed sub zero, meanwhile the night time lows were down as low as minus 7C locally.

Just as the cold weather began to bite, consumers were warned on Thursday 1st March, 2018, that the National Grid may not have enough gas to keep up with the high demand, this bit of scare mongering turned out not be true.

We can see the remains of the snow on Sunday 4th March, 2018, this shot was taken from Ditchford Lane towards the cinema.

And 100 years ago we were also struggling with snow locally, and the snow plough was being pulled by a team of horses, as can be seen in the Rushden heritage  "snow report" article.

We had not seen the back of the white stuff, because the weekend of 17th March, 2018, the snow returned on the Saturday, made even more Siberian by a bitterly cold wind.

Nearing the end of April, 2018, naturally the weather had improved, and the promised road works were just about nearing the end. We had notched up a record high for the month, and this had previously lasted since 1949.

By contrast the wet weather was prolonged and the annual Rushden Cavalcade of transport was cancelled, this was because the show ground at Bedford Road was too wet, in what would have been their 40th year. This proved to be the final nail in the coffin, and it was decided that putting on such a grand  event was now too costly and was getting more and more difficult to fulfil.

A smaller event was held at the RHTS museum at Rushden Station, and was bathed in sunshine over the May Bank Holiday. This was to be the intended pattern of events in future years, with smaller monthly events on the calendar. The spring sunshine gave us temperatures of 24C, paving the way for what was a very hot summer.

May 2018 came to an end, and the new road layout between Waitrose and the Northampton road has eventually opened. And I am pleased to say that on the times I have used the junction, it has made life much easier. So it was well worth the wait, and has made a great improvement in traffic flow around the Needle and Awl pub.

The change in the weather was dramatic, with Summer temperatures in the UK hitting 35C on many days, this went on for several weeks during July and early August.

road layout
East terrace
New road layout
East Terrace

Despite many millions of visitors to Rushden Lakes, not all was rosy down there, with the House of Fraser going in to administration on Friday 10th July, 2018. Meanwhile the chain was trying to find a buyer, but stores opened on the day as normal.

And some good news did crop up, within hours of having administrators appointed for the House of Fraser, it was announced that Mike Ashley the boss of "Sports Direct" had bought the business for £90 million. Mr Ashley did have a vested interest, as he already owned an 11% share in the House of Fraser, the billionaire also owns "Newcastle United" football club.

The much needed link road between Ditchford Road and Rushden Lakes was approved by East Northants Council at their offices in Thrapston on Wednesday 12th September, 2018. This was subject to the Highways authority removing their objection to the single carriage road. The final store to open its doors on the East Terrace of Rushden Lakes was Wren Kitchens, this took place on Saturday 6th October, 2018, the weather was awful, wet and a nippy 9C. They have now joined Decathlon, AJ Cycles, Cotswold Outdoors and Hobbycraft.

We now await the opening of the fantastic new cinema complex that is coming our way.

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