Borough to invest £1million in Rugby World Cup 2015

A ceremony to mark the beginning of the previous Rugby World Cup at the Webb Ellis Statue
A ceremony to mark the beginning of the previous Rugby World Cup at the Webb Ellis Statue

More than £1million will be invested in the borough to help celebrate this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Rugby Borough Council’s cabinet gave the go-ahead to plans at a meeting on Monday.

The council will underwrite the cost of a ‘Rugby Village’ at the Old Market site, which will host an official tournament Fanzone, as well as tournament branding, events and activities.

Other funding will be allocated for town centre improvements.

As well as a general tidy-up of redundant street furniture and signage, improvements could include new coach parking facilities, refurbished toilets, and improvements to the John Barford and Westway car parks.

The town’s Pathway of Fame could also get a facelift before the tournament starts in September.

Cllr Heather Timms, responsible for culture and ecomony at Rugby Borough Council, said: “We have a unique opportunity to present ourselves to a global audience before, during, and after Rugby World Cup 2015 - an opportunity we are unlikely to get again for at least a generation.

“By underwriting this £1million investment we will make sure that visitors, residents and businesses will have the best possible opportunity to celebrate the Rugby World Cup.”

Cllr Timms added: “Most importantly, it will make sure that we will continue to feel the benefits long after the tournament has ended.”

The plans will be funded through a mixture of developer contributions, regular borough council budget streams, reserves, sponsorship and other third party funding, including income from tournament-time events.

The funding will also cover an educational programme for schools and provide training for volunteers.

Some schemes, such as a gateway planting scheme and arts commissions, have already been funded and have previously been announced but are included in the headline figure.

The council said it commited to underwrite the full cost of the programme in order to allow detailed planning to go ahead before applications to other funding sources have been finalised.