Retail giant Frasers targets Rugby green belt protection for global HQ

The latest grand design to threaten the green belt between Rugby and Coventry has broken cover – and is being put forward as the global headquarters of a high-profile high street operator.

An artist's impression of how the proposed HQ would fit into the countryside at Ansty.
An artist's impression of how the proposed HQ would fit into the countryside at Ansty.

Frasers Group – the parent company of major brands including Sports Direct, House of Fraser, Frasers, Flannels, Game, Jack Wills, Sofa.com, Evans Cycles, USC, and Everlast – has targeted a site at Ansty for its huge development, with the promise of thousands of jobs and a multi-million pound boost to the region’s economy.

A planning application has not yet been made to Rugby Borough Council but Frasers – the group built by Mike Ashley – is holding feedback days today and tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 11 and 12, to show off the plans, at Ansty Golf Centre from 2-7pm on both days. It also has a feedback form on its project website with responses wanted by next Friday, October 21 – the form can be found by clicking here.

The ambitious plan would sit to the north of the M6 in the area of Crowner Fields Farm with access to the motorway network via the B4065 and a secondary access onto the B4029.

The business has high hopes for the proposal: “Frasers Group’s Global Headquarters Campus offers a significant opportunity to deliver economic growth and create jobs across Rugby, Warwickshire and the wider region.

“The plans will create up to 7,500 jobs directly and will generate £300m in GVA [gross value added]. It represents a significant investment and vote of confidence.”

And it highlights why it has chosen Rugby borough as its potential destination: “Land at Junction 2 of the M6 sits adjacent to the strategic motorway network and is well connected to all regions of the UK by road, rail, and air.

“Rugby, Warwickshire and the wider West Midlands has a skilled workforce on its doorstep, and the opportunity to collaborate with local colleges and universities to train the next generation workforce in advanced techniques including AI and automation.

“This area of Rugby has been identified as a high-growth employment area. Major international companies including LEVC, the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Meggit, and Cadent have located here. Our vision builds on a high-value employment area and will amplify existing investment.”

And it sets out its commiment to the community and the sensitivity of the site it has selected for the HQ: “It will be landscape-led, driven by responsible and sustainable design principles. Where possible it will retain, reinforce, and enhance the existing landscape character and features.

"The proposals will also benefit the community, with several features open to the public. This will include a gym, swimming and sports hub, with bookable courts and pitches, and conferencing and training facilities. The enhanced landscape features will also include open space which will be accessible to all.”

Development on the south side of the M6 by junction 2 has already breached the green belt but this new plan will be another test for Rugby’s Local Plan. At an early stage of its development, a plan to build overspill housing for Coventry east of the eastern bypass but close to Walsgrave hospital was rejected in favour of proposals for Lodge Farm near Grandborough - this was later rejected following a highly-organised campaign by nearby residents.