Multi-million pound plans to extend Clock Towers Shopping Centre set to be approved

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Major plans for new shops, cafes and a six-screen cinema on the former Gala Bingo site are expected to be approved tonight.

The proposal is part of a £25 million plan to revamp and extend the Clock Towers shopping centre.

It also involves the demolition of Cemex House, with the the firm hoping to move staff to offices elsewhere in Rugby. A department store is also part of the scheme, though no occupier for the site has yet been named.

Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee will discuss the plans tonight (Wednesday), with case officer Karen McCulloch recommending that councillors grant permission.

Her report states: “At present the site does not enhance the character of the area. The site is now used as a public car park with a temporary hardcore surface and panel fencing. The Cemex building is also very much of its time and does not make a positive contribution to the character of the area.

“It is therefore considered that the redevelopment of the site would improve the character and amenity of the area.”

The report also cites planning policies that give priority to town centres as the “primary focus for services and facilities.”

It adds: “The principle of the proposed development is considered acceptable.”

The proposal is currently at the ‘outline’ stage, with councillors asked to judge the principle of the development. If approved, matters such asthe design of the buildings will be decided at a later date.

Supporters claim the the planned redevelopment is essential for the future vitality of the town centre.

The out-of-town Elliott’s Field retail park is also due to be redeveloped, with approval granted last year and Debenhams having committed to opening a department store at the site. The matter is currently the subject of a legal challenge brought by the company that owns the Clock Towers.

Only one formal objection has been lodged against the Clock Towers plan, with a neighbour concerned about matters including road safety and traffic congestion.

Cllr Neil Sandison has also expressed fears about the effects of the proposal on buses.

See on Thursday morning and next week’s Advertiser for reaction to the council’s decision.