A MAJOR revamp of Rugby town centre is on the cards.
Rugby Borough Council (RBC) has announced plans for a major regeneration of the town centre with the development of what it describes as an ‘ambitious’ new strategic masterplan.
The new Rugby Town Centre Spatial Strategy aims to create a blueprint for the regeneration of the town centre over the next 15 years, focusing on retail, residential, leisure, transport and tourism.
The council has joined forces with strategic real estate advisor Avison Young and masterplanners Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners to develop the strategy, with support from Urban Flow on transport and movement.
The team has been involved in town centre regeneration projects in towns such as Luton, Enfield, Birkenhead and Northstowe.
The team plans to engage with residents, businesses and key stakeholders to ensure the strategy meets local needs, while analysing the town centre’s current strengths and weaknesses to identify opportunities for regeneration and redevelopment.
Engagement looks set to start before the end of the year, with the masterplan scheduled for completion by the spring.
RBC growth and investment spokeswoman Coun Jill Simpson-Vince said the strategy was key to the council’s plans to revive the borough’s post-pandemic economy.
She said: “Town centres across the country have faced a number of significant challenges in recent years, and these challenges have been brought into sharper focus during the pandemic.
“While Rugby town centre has proved to be resilient compared to other towns, it’s clear we need to change and adapt to create a thriving, vibrant centre that meets the needs of our residents, businesses and visitors, both now and in the future.”
She said partnering with Avison Young would provide the necessary expertise to create ‘an ambitious, transformative masterplan for the town centre’ which could attract private and public sector investment.
She added: “Rugby remains one of the fastest growing boroughs in the country and, as a council, we’re determined to take the lead when it comes to driving the economic recovery following the pandemic.
“The Rugby Town Centre Spatial Strategy and its vision for the future has a vital role to play in our recovery plans, and we’re keen to work closely with residents, businesses and other stakeholders to push forward with the project.”
Martyn Saunders, Avison Young’s director of planning, development and regeneration, said: “The changing nature of retail and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 have had a significant effect on the work we do with local authorities and wider town centre stakeholders, but we firmly believe they present new opportunities for locations such as Rugby to thrive in the future.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with a proactive council that is not only looking for an innovative approach to facing these challenges, but also prepared to use its own assets and influence to provide a town centre that is welcoming to all, engaging and future-proof.”
Alistair MacDonald, director at Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners, added: “The market town of Rugby has a proud history and its historic identity is evident in the Victorian and early 20th century character of the town centre.
“The town is brimming with potential to grow, and the masterplan will offer a timely opportunity to respond to economic challenges and the pandemic.
“We look forward to working with the community and stakeholders to shape the future of Rugby town centre.”