Rugby First up for review as term nears end

Rugby First provides town rangers, CCTV and street cleaners

Rugby First provides town rangers, CCTV and street cleaners

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Rugby First’s role in boosting trade in the town centre is being reviewed as it comes to the end of its five-year plan.

The independent, not-for-profit company provides CCTV, town rangers and street cleaning teams and supports events such as the Festival of Culture.

It is funded by a levy paid by businesses in the area, known as a ‘business improvement district’ (BID).

Business owners will be asked to vote whether to renew the scheme.

A task group, chaired by Cllr Helen Walton, has been put together to discuss the effectiveness of the BID and consider the implications for the council and the town should the BID mandate not be renewed next year.

Rugby Borough Council works closely with Rugby First and has budgeted an annual revenue payment of £282,700 for 2014/15. A report on the review is scheduled to go to the borough council’s cabinet on February 5.

Aftab Gaffar, managing director of Rugby First, said: “Rugby First operates a range of core services within the agreed BID mandate, voted for by the majority of town centre businesses in 2010, along with other services in partnership with the borough council.

“Town centres across the country have and are facing change and new challenges and will continue to do so.

“Rugby is no different to any of these but as managing director for Rugby BID I would argue strongly that we, in partnership with RBC and other organisations, have played a crucial role in maintaining the vitality and vibrancy of Rugby town centre in what has and continues to be a very difficult economic climate.”

He added: “A tremendous amount has been achieved but there is still much more to be done. We must continue to work together, listen and be innovative in whatever we do, ensuring our town centre prospers and is one businesses, organisations, communities, individuals and visitors can be proud of.”

Visit www.rugbyfirst.org.

What do you think of Rugby First? Does it benefit the town? Email your thoughts to editorial@rugbyadvertiser.co.uk