Local MP discovers development thriving as the lockdown eases

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey has paid a visit to the town’s growing new neighbourhood, Houlton, to discover how the development is thriving in the wake of lockdown.

The sun shone on Friday morning as the MP met with locals and explored the latest progress at the community, accompanied by Richard Coppell, Group Development Director for Urban&Civic and Joh Thomas, Communities, Communications and Partnerships for Urban&Civic.

During the tour, the MP saw the live construction site of Rugby’s newest secondary school, Houlton School, where work is forging ahead to transform the Grade II Listed Radio Station into a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the development. Delivered by main contractor Morgan Sindall, who has continued to operate throughout lockdown, Mark and Darren Eaton, Morgan Sindall Construction’s area commercial director, discussed the challenges of operating throughout the pandemic. Despite the restrictions in place, construction work has continued to progress safely within government guidelines and remains on track to welcome its first intake of pupils in September 2021.

Throughout the morning, he also met with resident Brendan Mitchell for a doorstep chat about life at Houlton, as well as Andy Taylor, Head Teacher of primary school St Gabriel’s CofE Academy, and Elaine Enticott, operator of the award-winning restaurant The Tuning Fork. Having reopened its doors on Saturday 4th July, Mark paused to enjoy a coffee and the warm weather at the eatery’s outdoor dining area, which is once again serving guests homemade cakes and freshly cooked meals.

With the construction of new houses now resuming on site, Mark also saw construction work continuing on the development’s four housebuilder parcels - Davidsons Homes, Redrow Homes, Morris Homes and Crest Nicholson, where they are now welcoming future residents and regaining momentum on the sales of homes in the popular area.

Speaking after the visit, Mark commented:

“I was delighted to be able to visit Houlton to see how Rugby’s newest community has been continuing to develop despite the challenges of recent months. It was great to see that the new secondary school, Houlton School, remains on schedule to open in September 2021 and I was also very interested to hear about how work has safely continued during the coronavirus outbreak.”

Mark continued:

“It was very encouraging to hear that new housing sales are beginning to recover as move into the next phase of lifting coronavirus restrictions. This is a great indication of the resilience of Rugby’s local economy and will really help our area to bounce back.”

Johanne Thomas added:

“We were keen to show Mark just how resilient Houlton has been through this challenging period – from all perspectives. The progress made by our contractors to keep momentum on important projects like the secondary school, the rate at which our housebuilders are working to regain momentum, the team at St Gabriel’s Academy for their continued operation through the pandemic, the Tuning Fork team for reopening and welcoming visitors back to Houlton – and our fantastic residents who call Houlton their home. Despite the incredibly challenging times we have all faced, as a new community we have shown real resolve, positivity and community spirit, and we can feel very proud of ourselves for that.”