A department store, cinema, shops, bars and restaurants could be built in Rugby town centre as part of a £20 million expansion of the Clock Towers.
The Clock Towers Shopping Centre has announced plans to extend the building on to adjacent land where Gala Bingo once stood and which also includes Cemex House, which is to be demolished.
If approved, the extension would add 132,000 sq ft to the original centre. It would include a 60,000 sq ft department store, fashion, food and drink units, as well as a nine-screen cinema.
Tony Spencer, manager of the Clock Towers, said: “The extension of Clock Towers is great news for Rugby. It will provide the critical mass of shopping that Rugby needs to keep people in the town centre. Modern retail accommodation is all that is missing here, and is all that is stopping the town centre attracting new stores. It will also pump valuable new investment into the local economy through increased footfall and spend, with important knock-on effects for all businesses in the town centre.”
The extension, which would connect with the current shopping centre, would also feature an outdoor area to help create a ‘cafe culture’ and boost the night-time economy.
Mr Spencer said: “There would be access 24 hours a day and with the cinema, restaurants and bars it would drive the night-time economy in the town centre.
“This will ensure that the town centre does not decline any further. There are vacancies in the town centre and companies have gone bust but this is the whole point of these proposals – to secure the future of the town centre.”
The existing shopping centre, which is owned by CBRE Lionbrook, would also be refurbished.
The plans will go up against proposals to double the size of Elliott’s Field Retail Park off Leicester Road.
A planning application, submitted by retail park owner Hammerson, is due to be discussed at the Town Hall on May 22.
But the proposed Clock Towers site has already been identified by Rugby Borough Council as a location it approved for retail expansion in its Core Strategy.
Mr Spencer said: “We were very surprised that Hammerson submitted this application considering the council’s strong position on suitable sites for retail expansion in the adopted Core Strategy 2011. Such a development would have a real detrimental effect on the town centre encouraging any new and existing retailers to locate out of town. When there is a clear, viable and council-identified development site in the town centre, it should be selected ahead of any out-of-town alternative.”
Plans for the Clock Towers expansion will be submitted in the near future.