It’s been home to council leaders, discerning shoppers and those with a sweet tooth but now an iconic Rugby building is to be home to pod-dwellers.
Councillors at Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee Wednesday, April 3, approved a scheme to convert the upper floors of the High Street premises of Yum Yum World into flats and also gave the green light to eight one-bedroom pods to be installed on the roof.
None of the flats would have allocated parking which concerned some councillors but others felt the extra housing would benefit the town centre.
Cllr Tony Gillias (Con Revel and Binley Woods) explained how historic the site was.
He said: “This is the most important building for those of us here because that was the very first Rugby Town Hall.
“It was originally a pub, the Shoulder of Mutton, and that very same sign is sitting in a vault down in the bottom of our current town hall. It was pulled down in 1895 and George Charles Benn bequeathed the land to the town to have a new town hall built which was opened in 1905.
“As long as that facade is not damaged in any way and it forms a lasting heritage for this borough then I’ll move it for approval.”
Councillors were also told that the building had housed Rugby’s Marks & Spencer store before Yum Yum World - a sweet shot, indoor play centre and cafe - took on the premises.
Cllr Bill Lewis (Lib Dem Rokeby and Overslade) added: “It’s good that the building is being used and that we are populating the town centre but there’s an issue that comes up with these applications and that’s to do with parking.
“We say it’s a high access area and we don’t have to provide parking but lots of these applications are coming in and I’m sure it’s going to cause more problems in the future. People do have cars and there are problems already on Little Church Street car park.”
But after listening to the debate, councillors voted unanimously in favour of the plans with Cllr Peter Butlin (Con Admirals and Cawston) adding: “It has been recognised that we need to reinvent our town centres and that means allowing more people to live in the town centres.
“It is a way that we can sustain town centre economies and when we get applications like this I’m heartened because it is reinventing uses for a building like this which has started as the town hall and morphed itself into different things through different generations. This is next usage of that building.”