It is only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt walking along pedestrianised parts of Rugby town centre according to the only councillor living in the problem area around the Clock Tower, High Street and Sheep Street.
Cllr Tom Mahoney (Lab, Benn) issued the stark statement at this week’s July 20 full council meeting of Rugby Borough Council when the leader was urged to liaise with the local highway authority.
He said: “I am probably more qualified to speak on this than anyone else. Up until about two or three years ago there wasn’t a problem - there was only traffic there early in the morning for deliveries and late at night for the same reason.
“With Covid we have had vehicles turn up collecting food and we also have on-street dining and drinking which we’ve never had before.
“It is not a case of if an incident is going to occur, it’s just a question of when.”
The area was the subject of a motion put forward by Cllr Andrew Bearne (Con, Wolston and the Lawfords) calling on the leader to take action.
The motion read: “It has become increasingly noticeable how precarious it has become for pedestrians walking in the Clock Tower, High Street and Sheep Street areas of Rugby town centre.
“To a visiting pedestrian observer, it may well seem that the pedestrianised area there actually forms part of the ‘to and fro’ of the regular road network as opposed to its intended function of permitting vehicular access to the commercial premises in the immediate vicinity.
“All kinds of vehicles now seem to be accessing the area mentioned – from private hire taxis conducting their business, to motorists driving up to and parking near food outlets to make a collection. Random parking seems to predominate in the area.
“Could the council leader please write to Warwickshire County Council as the highway authority and request that it undertakes an investigation into how this ongoing, and increasingly dangerous, situation could be alleviated in the interests of upholding public safety in the pedestrianised area?”
An amendment from the Liberal Democrats was accepted by Cllr Bearne. This added: “The council notes that WCC highways officers alongside borough and county councilors, Rugby town beat officers and Rugby First cctv unit have attended recent site visits to assess the situation regarding highway abuses by drivers and more follow-up meetings have been agreed to help resolve this public safety and wellbeing issue.”
Cllr Neil Sandison (Lib Dem, Eastlands), who proposed the amendment, added: “I do have some good news - we have managed to secure a policing priority area for the next three months so there will be regular police officers in the area.
“The county council has also agreed that their own enforcement team will be out there for those who breach parking conditions.”