Derelict Regent Street site ‘could be arcade’

Jerry Roodhouse and fellow councillors, have concerns about the pedestrianisation of Rugby town centre and are also keen to see premises in Regent Street, refurbished and made use of.
Jerry Roodhouse and fellow councillors, have concerns about the pedestrianisation of Rugby town centre and are also keen to see premises in Regent Street, refurbished and made use of.

While many are pleased with the prospect of a £1m pedestrianisation project, not everyone is convinced it’s the best way to spend public money.

At the council’s budget setting meeting on Tuesday, funds were secured for the project, meaning that in the coming months a full public consultation will be taking place.

Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors voted against the plans, saying the money would be better spent elsewhere in the town centre. And one idea is to buy the empty retail space in a large disused building on Regent Street and convert it into a mini-arcade, similar to the Churchside Arcade in Little Church Street. Bev Thomas of Etcetera in Regent Street said: “I’d like the council to make a compulsory purchase order on the building and convert it into an arcade to help small businesses establish themselves.

“The small rent costs would lower the risk and then once they grew they could move out elsewhere in the Independent Quarter.”

Meanwhile the Lib Dems want to spend the money on helping Rugby’s traders and removing unnecessary street furniture from the town centre.

However Mike O’Connor of Parriss Jewellers, said he was confident the pedestrianisation project was a good way too boost business and shopping.

“I’m in favour of the project because it would benefit the whole of Rugby, not just businesses this side of it,” he added.