£25m Rugby Clock Towers plan moves forward

An artist's impression of how the revamped centre may look
An artist's impression of how the revamped centre may look

Major plans that could transform shopping in Rugby town centre have taken a big step forward.

Developers have now formally lodged an application for permission to extend the Clock Towers shopping centre onto the former Gala Bingo site and revamp the existing malls. It would include a department store, a cinema and a new public square.

Rugby Borough Council will to decide whether to approve the £25 million proposal. But the authority has already given its support to redevelop the rival Elliott’s Field retail park – and those behind the Clock Towers plan fear there is no way both could survive if approved.

In a document submitted with the application, developers CBRE and architects Corstorphine & Wright emphasise the significance of the Clock Towers to the town. They state: “This site is of great importance to the future development of Rugby as a whole.

“This proposed development has been designed to enhance the town centre, encouraging investment and growth of both the town and surrounding areas.

“The proposal will be finished to the highest quality to emphasise the future prosperity of the town centre, preventing investment being delivered to areas outside the town centre.”

The Clock Towers shopping centre opened in 1979. It still houses major chains such as Boots and Wilkinson, but has faced criticism in recent years about its leaking roof and empty units.

The developers state: “A fresh coat of paint throughout would help to link the new extension to the existing centre, making the whole building feel as though it was new.”

They add that maintenance and repairs will be carried out on its floors, ceilings and lifts.

The managers of the Clock Towers recently launched a legal challenge to the borough council’s decision to approve the Elliott’s Field plans. Hammerson - which owns Elliott’s Field - has since submitted a revised planning application with alterations to the design and layout of some of the units. Debenham’s is the biggest name so far to commit itself to opening a store at Elliott’s Field.

The Clock Towers plans can be viewed at http://www.planningportal.rugby.gov.uk. The council’s planning committee is likely to decide in the coming weeks whether to grant permission.