Councillors want Rugby town centre to go plaque to the future - The Rugby Observer

Councillors want Rugby town centre to go plaque to the future

Rugby Editorial 28th Jul, 2016 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

THE HISTORY of the town centre can help ensure it has a bright future, believe two Rugby councillors who want to introduce blue plaque-style commemorative signs – but with a colour change.

Liberal Democrat councillors Coun Neil Sandison and Coun Marion Nash are calling on Rugby Borough Council (RBC) to introduce a Green Plaque scheme to help visitors and residents re-discover the history of the town centre – and attract more people to local businesses.

They have motioned the council to introduce the plaques, which they said would identify heritage sites and places of interests in the town – such as The Squirrel pub, the longest continuous licenced house in Warwickshire, and the location where Thomas Caldecott as Lord of the Manor of Rugby gave licence to the pub, market and stables in the 19th century.

The motion is now being looked over by the council’s Scrutiny Committee.

Coun Nash said: “Many residents have commented on how empty Rugby town centre is and that shops are disappearing even in the independent quarter at an increasingly rapid rate.

“Part of the problem is online shopping and out of town retail stores, but it is also a partly due to Rugby – unlike our neighbours – not taking full advantage of its history.

“Rugby Lib Dems welcome the World Rugby Hall of Fame to be located at home of the game, which we are sure will attract many visitors, but Rugby is more than just a game and has a thousand years of heritage.”

The councillors say the plaques are a tried and tested scheme used by other councils – with residents having the power to vote on where they feel a green plaque should be placed to celebrate a person’s or building’s heritage.

Coun Sandison added: “The scheme is a win-win situation for the town. It would encourage more footfall beyond The Rugby Art Gallery and Museum where the Hall of Fame is to be located and into the town centre, providing more customers for local shops which will help them to stay open and attract new business.

“We have already received a lot of support for our proposal from local retailers, organisations and businesses. It really is time to rediscover Rugby.”

Rugby currently has four blue plaques, the nationwide historical markers, including one at 5 Hillmorton Road – the birthplace of First World War poet Rupert Brooke.


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