Hall of Fame and homelessness among six-figure extra costs for Rugby council

The World Rugby Hall of Fame at Rugbys art gallery, museum and library.
The World Rugby Hall of Fame at Rugbys art gallery, museum and library.

Rugby’s Hall of Fame could cost taxpayers £192,100 more than was anticipated this financial year, while homelessness could cost an extra £294k.

A council report states reduced income from the attraction is responsible for the extra £192,000 cost.

But the leader of Rugby council said councillors knew the attraction would be a net cost to the council, it is not a commercial project and it brings value to the town.

The report states: “The service continues to implement a range of marketing activities to promote the attraction and encourage visitor attendance.

“These include a community partnership with Wasps RFC, train station signage, national distribution of leaflets, attendance at travel trade shows, social media, radio advertising and the production of a video with Rugby FM involving local rugby clubs,” it adds.

Despite this, the attraction is failing to meet its income target for 2018-19, with a £29,900 adverse variance in the first quarter of the present financial year.

Cllr Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, previously told the Advertiser that Hall of Fame was not meant to be a commercial project.

He said: “Councillors from all political groups accepted unanimously that there would be a net cost to the council and that the benefits of supporting the diversification of the town centre with a world-class visitor attraction outweighed the potential costs.

“For the first time in our history Rugby has a visitor attraction of which our residents can be proud. By working together and with our partners we can make the most of this valuable asset for the benefit of our town centre, our residents and businesses.”

Among the other extra expenses anticipated by the council is £294,200 this financial year on bed and breakfast rooms and temporary accommodation for the borough’s homeless.

The council’s report states that since February demand has increased from 15 households to a peak of 36 households in June.

The removal of tenants from Biart Place ahead of its expected demolition has further reduced the stock of temporary accommodation.

To solve the problem, the report states the council has increased its stock of properties sourced through its Private Sector Leasing Scheme from 31 in February to 51 at present.

Ten flats at Rounds Gardens will also be made available as temporary accommodation after survey work is finished. Council officers are also looking to source more properties from the open market.