Residents and businesses in Rugby have the chance to help shape a town centre fit for the future.
Rugby Borough Council has published a new Town Centre Vision - and now needs feedback from the public before drawing up a detailed strategy to support the delivery of a town centre ‘fit for the future’.
The vision outlines ambitions to increase the range of shops, leisure and entertainment venues in the town centre, while supporting the centre’s current independent shopping sector and selection of food and drink establishments.
It also aims to build on the council’s town centre enhancement programme for this year’s Rugby World Cup, which has included new bins, public art works and - from September - the introduction of wi-fi, while promoting Rugby’s heritage as the birthplace of the game.
The council hopes that revitalising the town centre will help it complement out of town shopping parks such as Junction One and Elliott’s Field, which officially opens later this year. Next, Costa and TK Maxx are currently open at the Leicester Road site.
Cllr Heather Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for economy, development and culture, said: “Town centres across the country have faced significant challenges in recent years and the role of town centres has changed with the increasing popularity of online shopping and its impact on national retail chains’ business strategies.
“Rugby town centre, like other centres, needs to change and adapt to meet these challenges, and our Town Centre Vision signals the start of the council’s work to draw up a new strategy to support the delivery of a town centre fit for the future.
“However, we’re just one of a number of key stakeholders who have an important role to play in reinvigorating the town centre and it’s vital we work together in order to make the vision a reality.”
Cllr Timms added: “We have already discussed our vision with a number of stakeholders, including Rugby First, Warwickshire County Council and Rugby School, and the public consultation now opens up the discussion to all businesses and residents who want to play a part in shaping our strategy for a prosperous and vibrant town centre.”
Kate Morris, from Works 4 Me, in Albert Street, said the independent shops had successfully created a ‘community feel’.
“The independent quarter is a lovely part of town and it is well supported,” she said.
“Initiatives such as 1st Thursdays are fantastic and they really help to bring people into the town - so thank you to everyone involved for their efforts.
“Free parking would be a great boost for this area of town. Even if it was just one hour, it would mean shoppers didn’t need to worry about having change in their pocket and they could just nip into one or two places easily. We’re very grateful for the support we receive from the council and we look forward to hearing more about the plans for the town centre.”
The council has invited all town centre businesses to workshops at the Benn Hall to discuss the vision and contribute ideas for the final strategy.
The workshops take place from 6.30pm to 8pm on Wednesday August 26 and Wednesday September 2.
Residents can download a copy of the Town Centre Vision from the council’s website - www.rugby.gov.uk/tcvision
Copies can also be picked up from reception at the Town Hall.
Comments on the Town Centre Vision can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The consultation launched on Monday August 17 and closes at 5pm on Monday September 14.