Stagecoach has announced it will be diverting buses to allow shoppers to visit Elliott’s Field in Rugby.
The company will be diverting service 4 between Brownsover and Rugby town centre via Leicester Road to Elliott’s Field, Technology Drive, Warwickshire College and Rugby railway station with effect from Saturday September 5.
The revised service 4 will provide Elliott’s Field with a 12 minute service Monday to Saturday and a 20 minute service on Sundays.
Both the new Saturday and Sunday frequencies represent an uplift on the existing service levels of every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every half hour on Sundays.
Service 4 will not only provide links from Brownsover and the town centre to Elliott’s Field, but also from Bilton and Cawston Grange.
Shoppers will be able to get on the bus outside Elliott’s Field for northbound journeys, but will need to catch the bus from Tesco on Leicester Road for southbound journeys.
The shopping park has already secured an impressive line-up of new retail and catering tenants including a brand new 60,000 sq ft Debenhams store and a 50,000 sq ft M&S general merchandise store, both of which will anchor the scheme, as well as Fat Face, River Island, TKMaxx, Outfit, Next, Clarks Nando’s and Ed’s Easy Diner.
Steve Burd, Managing Director at Stagecoach Midlands, said: “Unfortunately there is no provision for buses to stop within Elliott’s Field and in the short to medium term route 4 will, therefore, stop on the main Leicester Road outside Elliott’s Field on northbound journeys towards Brownsover and within Tesco’s on southbound journeys towards the town centre - Bilton and Cawston Grange.
“Clearly this is far from ideal.”
The news comes after Rugby Borough Council announced its Town Centre Vision - a plan to ensure the town centre complements the out of town development and continues to thrive.
Cllr Heather Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for economy, development and culture, said: “ Rugby town centre, like other centres, needs to change and adapt to meet these challenges, and our Town Centre Vision signals the start of the council’s work to draw up a new strategy to support the delivery of a town centre fit for the future.”
At the same time that service 4 is being diverted via the Leicester Road and Tesco’s/Elliott’s Field, services 10 and 12 will be revised to run via Boughton Road to replace service 4 in that area.
Services 10 and 12 will also be extended to the new Gateway employment development close to junction one of the M6.
Mr Burd said: “Stagecoach Midlands did object to the original proposals for the expansion of the Elliott’s Field site, because there was no provision for public transport to stop within it.
“Our objections were, however, overruled at appeal, with Rugby Borough Council supporting the new development even though it had no provision for buses.
“Following this decision, Stagecoach Midlands has been in discussions with Warwickshire County Council about the possibility of introducing a new layby on the Leicester Road opposite Elliot’s Field, as the current bus stop in Tesco is not even visible from Elliott’s Field.
“The County Council is currently looking at the cost and feasibility of introducing a layby to the south of Tesco on the Leicester Road and there is section 106 developer funding available to finance it, provided that there are not too many problems with utility cables/pipes underneath the ground at this point.
“Even if this scheme does prove to be financially achievable, the new southbound layby is highly unlikely to be introduced until the secondr half of 2016 at the earliest.”
The existing evening journeys on service 10 to DIRFT will also be revised to operate via Elliott’s Field with effect from September 5.
Specific journeys are being introduced to cater for the 8pm shopping hours finish and Marks and Spencer’s 10pm staff shift finish at Elliott’s Field.