£80m a year going out of town centre

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THE town centre loses out on £80million worth of trade every year because Rugby shoppers are going elsewhere, according to an official report.

The borough’ s new core strategy plan, its blueprint for the town’ s future, says Rugby’s more affluent shoppers aren’t sufficiently catered for.

It warns that new housing estates on the BT mast and Gateway sites could become “dormitory” unless the range and quality of services on offer

in the town centre improves.

According to the document, Rugby has a higher than average number of affluent people of working age. This suggests that there is money in town to

be spent, but that it is going into tills elsewhere.

Business and civic leaders point to a series of successes in recent years, but say there is still much work needed to make the town centre more attractive to Rugby’s shoppers.

Robin Richter, managing director of town centre management firm Rugby First, said: “Before the recession hit we were making major in-roads into solving this problem and had a new shopping centre opening that was going to contain quality retail shops.

But when the recession hit that project fell by the wayside.”

He added: “We have to crack this and I think to do that we would need 30 or 40 independent stores and perhaps one or two large, reputable retail

chains.”