Ambitious plans for a once-in-a-generation transformation of Rugby town centre have been unveiled.
Rugby Borough Council has described its Rugby Town Centre Regeneration Plan as a 'bold vision for the future', detailing the guiding principles for redevelopment and a number of 'big idea' projects which are designed to revitalise the town centre.
The plan focuses on retail, residential, leisure, tourism and transport, and the redevelopment of key town centre sites, including Rugby Town Hall, Rugby Police Station, North Street car park and land off Corporation Street.
In addition to building on major plans already in the pipeline, such as the redevelopment of Rounds Gardens, Rugby Central's desire to explore redevelopment opportunities and the Caldecott Square development on the site of the former Herbert Grey College, the regeneration plan also outlines a number of major projects to transform the town centre.
The so-called 'big ideas' include the creation of a Rugby Hub, placing the council and other public services in a 'one-stop shop' in the town centre, and a dramatic revamp of Corporation Street, improving its links to the heart of the town centre with a focus on pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.
Other big ideas focus on redesigning parts of the town centre's road network, including transforming Evreux Way into a high-quality 'gateway' to the centre and reworking the gyratory system next to Rugby School to encourage visitors to walk, cycle or travel on public transport.
The plan was drawn up following a public consultation earlier this year, when nearly 1,300 residents voiced views on how the town centre could be improved.
Cllr Seb Lowe, leader of Rugby Borough Council, said the views of residents had helped shape the regeneration plan, with a six-week public consultation launching today (Thursday September 30) to give residents the chance to give feedback on the plan.
"Town centres across the country face significant challenges, challenges which the pandemic has both brought into sharper focus and made more immediate," Cllr Lowe said.
"However, I firmly believe Rugby has the economic foundations on which we can build a town centre fit for the 21st century.
"We remain one of the fastest growing boroughs in the country and our central location and excellent transport links mean Rugby remains an attractive place to live, work and do business.
"The Rugby Town Centre Regeneration Plan sets out an ambitious vision for our town centre and combines over-arching objectives and principles, such as commitments on the environment, with detailed proposals for redevelopment," Cllr Lowe added.
"It's important we now hear from residents before finalising the plan and starting work on delivering regeneration in Rugby town centre."
A consultation exhibition opens in the foyer of Rugby Art Gallery and Museum today, giving residents the chance to find out more about the regeneration plan and complete the consultation survey.
The council has also launched a dedicated website - www.rugbytowncentre.org.uk - where residents can view the plan and complete the survey online.
And during an 'in person' exhibition event on Monday October 25 at the Benn Hall, residents can view the plan and speak to members of the regeneration team from 2pm to 7pm.
Cllr Jill Simpson-Vince, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for growth and investment, said: "The Rugby Town Centre Regeneration Plan forms a key component of the council's work to spearhead the borough's economic recovery from the pandemic.
"It's an ambitious plan which takes a holistic approach to regeneration, using guiding principles to create a framework for sustainable redevelopment which can help deliver a vibrant town centre where people can work and live, and which people want to visit and spend leisure time.
"It's a detailed plan which sets out the steps which need to be taken to deliver on its ambition, and we now want to hear from residents to make sure we get this right for Rugby."
The public consultation runs until Thursday November 11.