Campaigners fail to secure special status to protect Oakfield Rec from housing

Residents at a 'Save Oakfield' meeting
Residents at a 'Save Oakfield' meeting

A campaign group trying to protect a park from housing has suffered a blow after failing to secure special status from the county council.

Save Oakfield applied for Town Green status for Oakfield recreation ground, in Bilton Road, after its owners announced plans to sell the land to developers.

We remain so very grateful to the general public for getting behind the cause

Richard Joy, spokesman for Save Oakfield

The status would have protected the field from housing developers but the committee has withdrawn its application to Warwickshire County Council after advisers said it was likely to be unsuccessful.

More than 150 letters supporting the push for Town Green status were received.

Land owners, Heart of England Co-operative Society, have submitted a planning application to Rugby Borough Council in the hope of building around 60 homes on the site.

The Co-op had leased the land to the council as a recreation area for 30 years. The council offered to buy the land before the application was submitted but the offer was refused.

Richard Joy, spokesman for Save Oakfield, said: “We feel that it was absolutely correct to have investigated the possibility of protecting Oakfield through such a status, and we remain so very grateful to the general public for getting behind the cause even though it will most likely conclude without the desired result achieved.

“This absolutely isn’t the end though.

“The Co-op has submitted its planning application for Oakfield now and through its content there is great cause for optimism. As Oakfield is ‘Protected Open Space’ it is the duty of the Co-op to prove that Oakfield isn’t needed.”

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey said: “I am committed to working side by side with the local community to protect Oakfield recreation ground from the threat of development

“I will continue to do all that I can to protect this invaluable green space within the town. It is clear where Rugby Borough Council intend for future housing developments to take place and I see no reason why Oakfield recreation ground should be developed.”

The Heart of England Co-operative Society declined to comment when contacted by the Advertiser.