Debate over Rugby town centre pedestrianisation continues

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Consultation over Rugby’s pedestrianisation project may have ended, but two political groups have announced they’re against the plans.

Rugby Greens said this week they’d prefer any investment on the town centre to be spent on a bus station while Rugby Labour group has said the £1m scheme represented too little benefit for so much money. According to Rugby Conservative Group the scheme is supported by a significant number of retailers in the town centre as well as the chair of Rugby Chamber of Commerce, Simon Leech.

According to Warwickshire County Council the results of the recent public consultation could be released at the end of this month, but will definitely have been released by the end of the year.

Cllr Claire Edward, Rugby’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour, said: “The scheme will produce some gains – such as a marginally larger event area outside the clock tower and it will also remove some of the cluttered street furniture.

“But will it attract new businesses? Will it attract new customers to existing retailing such as the independent area around Regent Street? Will we get a better range of shops as a result?

“I believe there are better ways to invest in the town centre – improved car parking, proper street signs at car parks and encouraging regular events such as the wonderful Food and Drink Festival and enhancing the Christmas lights switch-on.”

A statement from Rugby Green Party this week said money would be better spent on a bus station, adding: “A bit of advice for councillors is that when Greens oppose a predestination project, you know there is a serious flaw with the scheme.”

Simon Leech, chair of the Rugby branch of the Chamber of Commerce, said in September that reaction from committee members had been positive. He said: “From a personal point of view, I have always been in favour of pedestrianisation.”