Fight to save Oakfield rec from housing developers continues

Save Oakfield has thanked people for their help so far
Save Oakfield has thanked people for their help so far

Determined residents are continuing to fight to protect a much-loved playing field from developers.

More than 100 people have objected to plans to build 62 houses on Oakfield recreation ground in Bilton Road. The land, owned by the Heart of England Co-operative Society, was leased to Rugby Borough Council as a park for 30 years.

But after the lease expired, the Co-op Society applied for planning permission to build houses on the site.

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey has shown his support for the Save Oakfield protest group, as has borough council leader Michael Stokes.

The pair met with Co-op Society chief executive Ali Kurji last year, but despite putting the residents’ case forward, and the council offering to buy the land, the Co-op Society submitted the planning application. A decision is yet to be made.

A number of borough council departments have objected to the plans, including Green Spaces, and Parks and Grounds.

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey has spoken out about the plans and has given his full support to the campaign group.

He said: “I am committed to working side by side with the local community to protect Oakfield 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 should be developed.”

Save Oakfield member Peter Crawford said: “We are extremely pleased to see the full opposition of MP Mark Pawsey, as well as our highly supportive local councillors submitted to paper. This is further backed up with objections from the vast majority of local authority departments required to endorse these plans.”

Save Oakfield spokesman Richard Joy said he was keen to see the ‘hostile development’ stopped.

“The Co-op is offering nothing back to the local community as compensation for the loss of Oakfield recreation ground. On the contrary, it is saying there is nothing to compensate for. It seems to be saying ‘it’s our land we can do what we want with it’. Regrettably for the Co-op, planning policy clearly says they cannot. We are extremely pleased to see such formal and clearly articulated objections from so many of the institutions who will be pivotal in getting this unwanted and hostile development stopped.”

During the consultation period, the Co-op Society said it was listening to the views of the local community and would take feedback into consideration.