A NEW strategy to turn Rugby town centre into a ‘vibrant, resilient community focal point’ has been adopted by Rugby Borough Council (RBC).
The council says its Town Centre Regeneration Strategy is a ‘fresh, ambitious vision’ for the regeneration of the town centre over the next 15 years.
It describes its vision of Rugby town centre in 2035 as ‘vibrant, resilient and a community focal point, characterised by a strong daytime and night-time economy, a culture of entrepreneurship, and a thriving hub of independent and national-brand businesses’.
The strategy aims to attract more independent retailers, increase the range of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, and expand Rugby Market to include food, drink and specialist markets.
The plan proposes to bring the council and other public services together in a one-stop shop ‘Rugby Hub’, and increase the number of homes in the town centre.
The council also wants to ‘re-imagine roads as streets for people’ by creating greener streets and spaces through tree planting, improvements to existing spaces, and the creation of new pocket parks. It aims to prioritise routes and links for walking, cycling and public transport, and improve links to the railway station.
Proposals include revamping Corporation Street, Church Street, North Street and Evreux Way, improving parking and taxi provision, developing ‘an efficient 21st century bus system’, and reworking the gyratory system – which was redesigned as recently as 2015.
The strategy would also integrate into existing plans including the proposed redevelopments of sites such as Rugby Central, Cemex Tower, and Rounds Gardens.
An RBC spokesman said: “The strategy makes Rugby town centre a place where people want to live and socialise. It promotes resilience and investment, with a strong daytime and night-time economy, a culture of entrepreneurship, and a thriving hub of independent and national-brand businesses.”
He said it would guide investment and change in the town centre to improve how people move around the town centre.
“Local businesses, landowners, stakeholders and residents have all been consulted over the last two years and have all shown positive support for the ideas and aspirations of the strategy,” he added.
RBC’s growth and investment spokesman Coun Ian Picker said: “Our town centre will still need a strong retail offer, but this strategy will deliver far more of the sort of independent retailers we currently have in Regent Quarter.
“We will look to significantly increase the range of restaurants, bars and other places of entertainment, along with enhanced areas of public spaces to ensure that our town centre becomes a place where people come to meet and enjoy themselves.”
Council leader Coun Seb Lowe said: “Towns of our size up and down the country face exactly the same issues as changing shopping habits change what were once thriving retail hubs.
“But while our problems are not unusual, it has long been my belief that the strengths of this borough place us in a far stronger position than most to tackle those problems.
“It is my firm belief that this regeneration strategy offers a comprehensive solution to the issues we face in our town centre.”
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/regeneration for more information.