The developer behind plans to expand Elliott’s Field has responded to fears the project may affect businesses in the town centre.
A spokesperson for Hammerson, the company behind the expansion of the retail park, said: “Elliott’s Field Phase Two is a £20 million investment in Rugby, creating 120 new jobs in addition to the £35 million invested and more than 380 jobs created at Elliott’s Field already.
“The bulky goods retailers will complement rather than compete with the town centre, filling a recognised gap in the market and helping to retain spending within the borough.
“Planning conditions on tenants prevent direct competition with town centre shops.
“The benefits – from significantly increased choice for shoppers, contributions to improve local roads and public transport, delivery of world-class sustainability measures, regeneration of an empty brownfield site on a key route into to the town, and much else – will be absolutely terrific for the local community, and we are looking forward to welcoming shoppers later this year.”
The plans will see eight new shops, six selling furniture or carpets, which the developer hopes will be trading by Christmas.
Two of the units have yet to be rented although a spokesperson said both units are attracting a lot of interest.
The response comes after Rugby First expressed concern over how the expansion of Elliott’s Field might draw customers away from the town centre.
Aftab Gaffar, Rugby First managing director, urged Rugby Borough Council to protect the town centre through the delivery of the town centre action plan, which the council formed alongside Rugby First.
Covering 2016 to 2020, the plan was written by Rugby Borough Council after consultation with the public and various organisations, including Rugby First.
Objectives set are: physical environment, town centre uses, marketing, investment and the visitor economy.
Cllr Heather Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for growth and investment, said: “The changes in town centres are a well-documented trend taking place across the country.
“Rugby Borough Council has led on a town centre action plan, with the full support of Rugby First, that will give the town centre the best possible chance to adapt to changing shopping and social habits.”
The plan states the town centre should complement Elliott’s Field.