Plans to extend Rugby’s shopping centre and build a new cinema and restaurants have received a mixed response.
The proposal to revamp the Clock Towers was given the go-ahead by Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee last week.
The centre’s existing car park will be used and there are currently no plans to extend it.
Robin Swift, the new manager of Clock Towers, said: “We are delighted to have secured a second consent on the land adjacent to the Clock Towers Shopping Centre, which is great news for Rugby.
“The proposed leisure-based development will bring much needed investment and footfall into the town centre which all businesses will benefit from.”
Mr Swift, who took over in December, would not be drawn on timescales for the proposed development.
He added: “A number of operators are having discussions with our client over these proposals and more details will undoubtedly come out as appropriate.”
Many readers contacted the Advertiser after news of the approval was published on our website.
Beverley Ramsay said: “With a cinema on Leicester Road and numerous restaurants that offer free parking, my concern would be if it would be paid parking charges in the town centre in the evenings, surely that would discourage people from coming into town.”
Maureen Hunt said: “What about looking for something different like an ice skating rink? We already have a cinema. We need more places where families can do things together.”
But the news was welcomed by Alan Pavis, artistic director of Rugby Theatre, which has its own cinema.
He said: “We are really excited about this proposed development, which should make a real difference to the town centre.
“These are exciting times for the theatre, the town and the Rugby community in general. We fully support the continued improvement and investment that’s being made into what is becoming a fabulous, vibrant town centre.”
Part of the site includes land currently owned by Cemex, which has its own plans for the land, including a 6,000 sq m food store.
Cemex spokesman Ian Southcott said: “The granting of planning permission by Rugby Borough Council for the Cemex office site and the former Gala Bingo hall follows an application by a third party.
“Although we were aware of the application, we didn’t appreciate that it was going to committee last week as we are not a party to the application.
“No substantive discussions have taken place with the developers and any development of the site can only proceed with our agreement.”
THE PLANS IN BRIEF
* The site includes the former Gala Bingo site and Cemex offices in Evreux Way, Rugby
* The plans feature a two-storey cinema with a bar and new food and drink outlets
* The existing Cemex offices on the site would be demolished and workers would be relocated
* Around 200 jobs are expected to be created by the development
* Those behind the plans hope the cinema and restaurants will attract people to the town centre after 6pm and improve the town’s leisure scene