The questions I raised in a previous blog are now even more important given that Legal and General have according to the Leader of the Council given assurances that the Grosvenor Development is not threatened by the “out-of-town” development at Rushden Lakes.
It raises the question as I mentioned before of whether it is just routine for Legal and General to object and oppose any other developments with which they are not involved and as such makes a mockery of any future or even past objections.
On the positive side if this is the case then there can be no objections or delays in giving the Saints permission to go ahead with the ASDA development to support the expansion of Franklin Gardens or retail developments at Sixfields to support the Cobblers because given what the Leader of the Council has said it won’t threaten the Grosvenor Town Centre Development.
The problem for everyone who wants to see both the town centre regeneration and support for the towns sports clubs is what appears to be the conflicting messages coming from Legal and General and the Leader of the Borough Council about what will constitute as a threat to the Grosvenor Development.
Of course Legal and General have to protect the interest of their shareholders and the pensions that their success relies on and no-one would expect them to take unnecessary risks with investments of over £300 million, but the last week has seen once again doubts raised on exactly where Northampton is in terms of the development.
Most worrying is the statement from the Councillor David Mackintosh the Leader of the Council that the Rushden Lakes development is not a threat but that
“other factors around will undoubtedly have an impact”,
a statement that reveals he is aware that there are some concerns remaining about the development
What are the “other factors”?
What is the “impact”, a smaller development, withdrawal from the Northampton?
Brian Binley MP for Northampton South may well be right that any further delay or withdrawal from the project by Legal and General may lead to them being a , in his words, “laughing-stock” in Northampton, not something I think will overly concern them.
What is more damaging is that the Borough and County Council involvement in progressing the Grosvenor Development will be seen as not only a “laughing-stock” but incompetent and especially if it leads to a domino effect on the towns plans for regeneration.
The impact of the Grosvenor Development not going ahead will isolate Northampton in a region of increasing growth and make it a less attractive place for inward investments that may well impact on those companies we are trying to attract to the SEMLEP Enterprise Zone.
It is why to clear the confusion Legal and General should be asked to provide a definitive written statement confirming that the Grosvenor Development will go ahead starting in 2014.
As with all issue of this importance once conflicting statements as we have seen over the impact of Rushden Lakes start to emerge it leads to a perception that the Borough Council is being run on the maxim of “Order, Counter Order , Disorder and Chaos” as they try not for the first time to market conflicting messages.
The other problem is who do we believe?