Major alterations planned: pedestrianisation of North Street and Church Street in Rugby

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THE long-awaited pedestrianisation of Church Street and North Street could take place next year.

Political approval is the only thing standing in the way of a revised £1m scheme being included in the budgets of Rugby Borough and Warwickshire County councils for 2013/14. The plans would make Church Street and North Street pedestrianised, with access restricted to buses, bicycles and taxis only.

While officials say many in the town welcome the move, not everyone is convinced. One independent trader on Albert Street, who did not wish to be named, fears the pedestrianisation could drive shoppers away. “I know a few traders around here, myself included, who are not entirely convinced this is a good idea. People like to park their car in Rugby’s ‘independent quarter’, even if it’s just for an hour, and restricting access down Church Street will make it harder for people to do that.

“When they installed parking meters in this part of town it hit trade hard, and I fear this will just made trading conditions here worse. I think the part of town and its quality independents is Rugby town centre’s best assets and its important that any changes made to the town centre doesn’t change this.”

A preview of the plans will be revealed at a meeting of community group Sustainable Rugby this evening at Rugby Borough Council chamber.

The original plans were deemed too expensive at £2,252,000, but now a revised £1m version has been produced, the main sacrifice being that Church Street and North Street would be open to buses, bikes and taxis.

The cost will be split between Rugby and Warwickshire’s authorities. Anyone interested in viewing the plans is welcome to attend tonight’s meeting at the town hall at 7pm.