‘Urgent talks’ over the future of Oakfield recreation ground in Rugby

Rugby Borough Council leader Cllr Michael Stokes attended a public meeting on Monday to discuss the situation
Rugby Borough Council leader Cllr Michael Stokes attended a public meeting on Monday to discuss the situation

The leader of Rugby Borough Council has called for urgent talks over the future of Oakfield Recreation Ground.

The Bilton Road park, owned by the Heart of England Co-operative, has been earmarked for 62 houses.

Cllr Michael Stokes has urged the Heart of England Co-op to work with the council to secure the long-term future of the recreation ground.

The council had leased the land from the Co-op for around 30 years until last year, when the lease expired.

The Co-op refused the council’s request to extend the lease and has not responded to the council’s subsequent offer to buy the land - fuelling concerns over the future of the park.

Cllr Stokes, who attended a public meeting on Monday at the Indian Centre to discuss the issue, said: “Oakfield Recreation Ground is a prized public open space and it was excellent to see so many members of the local community attend the meeting who were so passionate about retaining this piece of land in its current form.

“We have worked hard to secure the recreation ground for the community, first by seeking to extend the lease and then by offering to buy the land.

“However, the Heart of England Co-op has so far frustrated our efforts to hold meaningful talks over the land’s future.

“Having heard the concerns raised by residents at Monday’s meeting, I call on the Co-op to put the needs of the community first and enter discussions with the council to find a way of protecting Oakfield Recreation Ground for future generations.”

More than 1,500 people have signed a petition against the development.

Labour councillor Claire Edwards attended Monday’s meeting.

She said: “Oakfield Rec is one of the last green spaces in this part of Rugby, particularly at this end of New Bilton, and we need to protect it.

“Its been well used for a generation by local residents and we need to stand up and make the owners very well aware of the strength of feeling against these development plans.”

A public meeting will be held on November 10 at 7pm at the Indian Centre, Edward Street, Rugby.