The people behind the planned £25 million revamp of the Clock Towers have admitted they have “come to the party late” - but insist it’s vital for the town centre’s future.
Managers are fighting plans to redevelop the rival out-of-town Elliott’s Field retail park, which has the support of Rugby Borough Council and has signed up Debenhams to be its main store. Shoppers can see plans for the proposed Clock Towers redevelopment in the shopping centre today (Friday) and tomorrow.
Clock Towers manager Tony Spencer explained the shopping centre’s own plans were first discussed in 2008, but were shelved by the financial crisis.
He said: “Perhaps we’ve come to the party late - the Elliott’s Field plan is a kick to get it all going.
“But we’re looking at a £25 million investment and we’re working with the council on a regular basis. We’re also working with a company that’s advising us about the cinema.
“We want this to become a 24/7 operation, with people working, shopping, eating and going to the cinema. And we’re keen to do something different with the cinema. We want it to show concerts from the O2, football matches from Wembley, boxing matches, opera - the sort of thing people want to see but can’t get to.
“The office space excites us too - it’d be good for Cemex to have new offices, and to have all this on their doorstep.”
But he admitted no new major stores have yet signed up to the redevelopment. Tony said: “Until we have the planning application sorted, we can’t tell shops how much space they’ll have or what the layout will be.”
Those behind the development have suggested that the Clock Towers redevelopment could not go ahead if the Elliott’s Field plans are approved, as major stores would be unlikely to sign up to both schemes. But Rugby MP Mark Pawsey disagrees.
He said: “I think we can have our cake and eat it.
“With 6,200 homes planned for the mast site, plus the Eden Park development, I believe there will me a market for both.”
Speaking at a briefing earlier today, planning consultant Mike Ralph said he hopes the Clock Towers proposal will be discussed by Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee before the end of the year.
The plans are on display from 11am to 5pm today and 10am to 2pm tomorrow.
* The video shows planning consultant Mike Ralph speaking at a briefing this morning.