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7 January 2011, 12:08 | Updated: 7 January 2011, 12:11
The first stage of the upgrade to Rushden High Street gets off the ground on Monday 10 January, with the start of construction work for the first phase of the project.
The work will begin at the former Wills store end of the High Street, and will continue for a period of 10 weeks.
The road will be closed to traffic during this period except for access for delivery vehicles. There will be full pedestrian access at all times to shops and businesses, and ample car parking is available in the nearby free car parks. The bus stop will be moved to College Street for the duration of the work.
Contractors MGWSP will carry out the construction work, which includes improvements to the ‘gateway’ entrance to the southern end of the High Street (towards the church) and approximately 50m of improvement works continuing to the north.
More information will be on display at the Rushden Centre, the Splash Pool and the Evening Telegraph office on the High Street during normal opening hours.
An award of £700,000 of government Growth Funding has been granted to East Northamptonshire Council for the project, which will come through North Northants Development Company (NNDC) in conjunction with Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited. East Northamptonshire Council is also making available £785,000 from its reserves in support funding to cover the shortfall and to enable the project to go ahead.
Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Steven North, who is also a member of Rushden Town Council and the Rushden Regeneration project board, said: “If we want to attract more people back into the town we have got to make the High Street a more attractive place to shop, visit and set up a business. This work is the first step along that road. And at a time when resources are under strain, the council has pledged a substantial amount from its reserves to support the project and back up our belief in the long-term future of the town. There will be some disruption during the work but the end result, an improved High Street, will be worth it. The traders will still be open for business and there is ample free car parking nearby, so I would encourage people to continue to support them while the work goes on.”
Simon Evans, Chief Executive of NNDC, said: “The changes made possible by this funding will significantly improve the economic viability of Rushden town centre and make it a far more accessible, safe and attractive hub for community life.”
Look out for more information on the Rushden High Street improvements in future issues of Nene Valley News and on the council’s web site at www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/rushdenhighstimprovements