Rugby council budget includes boost for town centre - The Rugby Observer

Rugby council budget includes boost for town centre

Rugby Editorial 25th Feb, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

RUGBY town centre has been given a £150,000 boost in the council’s new budget.

The town will get free wifi and new solar-powered bins which alert staff when they are full as part of the investment included in Rugby Borough Council’s 2015-16 budget, which was agreed on Tuesday (February 24).

Elsewhere £250,000 will be spent on new waste collection services and £28,000 on schemes to help people back into work.

The authority’s £1 million commitment to the town’s Rugby World Cup celebrations was also formally agreed.

Council leader Michael Stokes said he had listened to business people in the town.

“I have heard the concerns of town centre businesses, and the budget that we have approved provides a substantial investment in the town centre that will give those businesses the best chance to thrive,” he said.

“Elsewhere we hear of cuts, redundancies and council tax increases, but we have done what’s right for Rugby and improved services while making them more efficient.

“Our new leisure centre and crematorium are great examples of where we have reduced net costs to taxpayers while providing valuable new services.”

The authority froze its element of the council tax for a sixth consecutive year, but Rugby residents can still expect an increase in their bills because Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Police have already agreed to increase their portion of the tax, which collectively makes up around 90 per cent of the bill, by nearly two per cent.

Liberal Democrat leader, Coun Jerry Roodhouse, told the Observer he welcomed the town centre investment but an opportunity to rejuvenate the former housing offices at The Retreat had been missed.

The Liberal Democrats had proposed £10,000 be used to look into bringing the building, which has been empty for around a year, back into use as a one-stop shop where residents could get free advice from organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau.

“We included free wifi in our proposed amendment to the budget and it’s something we have been talking about for a long time so I’m really pleased to see investment in that.

“It is extremely important that we put cash into the town centre strategy to breathe new life into Rugby.

“We were, however, really disheartened that our suggestions about The Retreat were ignored.

“Here we have a listed building that is just sitting empty and could be put to really good use so it is disappointing our proposals on that were ignored.”

The budget in brief:

– £150,000 investment in town centre; including free wifi, new solar-powered bins which alert council staff when they need emptying and modern, LED lighting on the statue of William Webb Ellis

– A refresh for town centre bollards, seating, and “Welcome to Rugby” signs

– £250,000 investment in new waste services, including new waste and recycling collection rounds

– £28,000 investment in measures to provide extra support to help people into work, boost the council’s grants scheme, and support partner organisations to commission youth services

– Council tax freeze for the sixth consecutive year


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