Free parking in Rugby town centre funded by money taken from out-of-town retail parks is among council budget proposals

File image.
File image.

Free parking in the town centre on evenings and weekends  and funding for a project to rejuvenate the gardens at St Andrew’s Church are among the proposals to boost the town centre as part of Rugby Council’s budget for 2019 -2020.

A drive towards environmental friendliness and more support for the borough’s homeless have also been suggested– but councillors will be asked to approve a 2.99 per cent increase in council tax to partially fund the proposals.

Cllr Michael Stokes, leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “Prudent financial management over many years has meant that we have been able to continue to fund the services our residents value.

“While any increase in council tax will be unwelcome, our proposed increase of just over ten pence per week for a typical Band D property will allow us to continue to support our most vulnerable residents.”

The council said it is considering using £60,000 taken from businesses in out-of-town retail parks to fund more free parking in council-run car parks.

Parking is free in many council car parks on Sundays and weeknights from 7pm until 8am, but the proposals would see free parking all day on Saturdays and Sundays, with parking free between 6pm and 6am on weeknights.

£5,000 will be donated to the garden project being promoted by St Andrew’s Church, with an additional £20,000 matched funding available to be unlocked by public donations. Additionally,

£40,000 will fund an extra housing officer to provide intensive support to help people out of homelessness.

This would constitute an extension of a pilot project that has already had some success moving residents from street homelessness to permanent accommodation.

The council said it will save £125,000 per year by introducing a policy of collecting waste from the kerbside only, removing the need for narrow waste collection vehicles that can navigate narrow alleyways and farm tracks, reducing mileage and increasing fuel efficiency.

Charging points for electric cars could also be installed in the town centre.

Councillors will set the budget at a February 26 meeting. The full budget proposals will be published at www.rugby.gov.uk/budget one week before the meeting.

To learn more about the St Andrew's garden fundraiser, or to donate, visit www.spacehive.com/standrewsrugby If you would like to pledge by cheque or make a cash donation, you can do so in the church daily or by contacting Events@rugbychurch.org.uk