Plans for a new cafe and bar in Abbey End have been given the go ahead despite objections from nearby traders.
And residents in Abbey Court also discovered this week they will be given discount season tickets for using Warwick District Council's car park once building work begins on the Abbey End site.
Developers Grevayne will partially demolish the former Castle Garages car showroom and job centre office to make way for the bar as well as three new shops as part of a 3.5 million facelift.
The new modern design, which features a stone tower with a glass canopy, has divided opinion.
Members of the district council's planning committee agreed to the plans at a meeting on Wednesday.
Coun Dave Shilton admitted something had to be done to improve the area but expressed concern about the design of the bar.
He said: "We are in no doubt Abbey End is in need of a refurbishment and this does look better than the car showroom.
"But I question the design of the tower in relation to the clock tower which is a focal point of the town."
Coun Shilton was also worried about noise from the bar late at night causing a nuisance to residents living in flats above the shops.
Councillors agreed to limit the time the place could open to normal licensing hours.
Planning officer Martin Haslett had recommended the plans were granted, believing the development would help bring more people to the shops in Kenilworth.
He said: "This does echo in general terms what we had wanted for this area of the town although the design itself is a matter of opinion. It has needed some sprucing up."
Members of the authority's executive also agreed to give residents in Abbey Court one parking pass per flat at 210 - half the normal yearly season ticket cost.
The tickets, which will be encoded to restrict their use to Abbey End, will be issued at the Kenilworth Connection once work begins on the current car park used by residents.