Councillors from all parties backed two separate motions at this week’s full council meeting of Rugby Borough Council as members called for action as the size of the borough continues to increase.
Leader Cllr Seb Lowe (Con, Coton and Boughton) proposed that the council’s executive director wrote to county council officers urging them to begin a financial feasibility plan for the ‘urgently needed’ secondary school on Coton Park East.
He explained that he had written a number of times on the matter of secondary school provision in the north of the borough and added: “Both local authorities agreed to a climate emergency and the impact of secondary school children being unable to walk to school and having to use transport flies in the face of that policy so this has to happen.
“As south west Rugby and Houlton develop, the schools in those areas will increasingly take children from their immediate area, thus adversely impacting children in the north of the town, not just in Coton Park, but Eden Park and Brownsover as well.”
It is not just secondary schools where the pressure is being felt. On Tuesday, we reported about parents who had moved to Houlton with the promise of being able to walk their children to the primary school, only to discover the reality is different from that sold to them by the developers of their new homes. St Gabriel’s CofE Academy in Houlton has not been able to keep pace with demand in certain school years, leaving parents travelling miles to find a place for some children and also having children at multiple schools.
Councillors also agreed that Cllr Lowe should write to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and bosses of the Coventry and Warwickshire integrated care system in support of additional urgent and emergency care provision at Rugby’s St Cross Hospital.
Cllr Adam Daly (Con, Hillmorton) put forward this motion after explaining that health provision had not kept pace with the borugh’s growth which now had a population of 114,000.
He told the meeting: “We are seeing new roads and new district centres and residents of Rugby rightly expect to also see an increase in health services.
"We are seeing some improvements in primary care provision with expansion of Whitehall Medical Practice and the new medical centre to be built in Houlton, both of which will reduce the pressure on GP practices throughout the town. Additionally, St Cross does continue to provide a range of excellent services including a nurse-led minor injuries and illness unit for patients over the age of five. However, it is abundantly clear that residents are very concerned about the lack of A&E provision.”
Cllr Daly said the nearest A&E department was in Coventry which served around 600,000 people and added: “By returning A&E services to St Cross we would considerably improve emergency provision for Rugby residents and waiting times for ambulances would almost certainly improve.”