Co-op submit application to build 60 houses on Oakfield Rec in Rugby despite protests

The plans include one to five bedroom houses and apartments

The plans include one to five bedroom houses and apartments

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The owners of a popular playing field have submitted a planning application to build 60 houses on it, despite residents campaigning to save it.

The Heart of England Co-operative Society has applied to build 60 houses on Oakfield Rec in Bilton Road, Rugby.

Anyone who submits such an application is indicating that they actively want to destroy an asset that serves the local community

Richard Joy, spokesman for Save Oakfield

The Save Oakfield campaign group has been battling to keep the playing field since the owners announced the initial plans.

A number of protests, demonstrations, Co-operative boycotts and community events were organised by the group.

Richard Joy, spokesman for Save Oakfield, said: “This one-off payday they are seeking will ultimately be offset against the people like myself who will refuse to use any of their stores ever again, irrespective of whether or not they are successful in their application.

“Mr Kurji, the Co-op’s chief executive, is absolutely aware that he is starting a process that could result in the destruction of a well-used and much needed resource.

“Anyone who submits such an application is indicating that they actively want to destroy an asset that serves the local community in an area that is otherwise deficient of open green space.”

The park was leased to Rugby Borough Council for 30 years. After residents pleaded with the owners to change their mind, the council offered to buy the land and keep it as a park but this was refused.

The plans state that the dwellings will comprise of 60 one to five-bedroom houses and apartments. A new access road will be created from the eastern side of the site to Bilton Road if the plans are approved.

A spokesperson for The Heart of England Co-operative Society confirmed the planning application had been submitted but declined to comment further.

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey said: “I was bitterly disappointed to learn that a planning application has been submitted in regards to Oakfield recreation ground.

“Despite meeting with the chief executive of the Co-op, Ali Kurji, and writing to him on numerous occasions outlining my opposition to any development, it is clear that the concerns of local residents have been ignored.

“I am extremely dis-appointed that the Co-op has decided to proceed with their application and I will continue to do all I can to support my constituents and oppose this application.”

A public meeting will be held at 7pm on June 1 at the Indian Centre in Edward Street, Rugby.