Former chairman says he was ‘pushed out’ of Oakfield campaign over politics

John Brown
John Brown

The former chairman of a campaign group battling to save a park from developers has claimed he was “pushed out” because of his political views.

John Brown, former chairman of Save Oakfield, has led the fight to stop the Heart of England Co-operative Society, which owns the land, from building 62 homes on Oakfield rec in Bilton Road.

But Mr Brown said he was “forced to stand down” this week after announcing his plans to run as a Conservative councillor for New Bilton.

“I feel I’ve been pushed out of a campaign that I’m passionate about because Labour supporters on the committee don’t like it that I’m standing for the Tory party,” he said.

The Co-op leased Oakfield rec to Rugby Borough Council for 30 years until last year.

Committee member Richard Joy said: “Even if John tries to keep Save Oakfield and his political career separate, other parties could raise the issue of unfair coverage of John through his work for us.

“It is important to recognise that this is equally true whichever colour rosette John is wearing in May.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Save Oakfield committee said Mr Brown had “regrettably stepped down to focus his time as a prospective councillor.”

The committee said: “We wholeheartedly and unreservedly thank John for his relentless effort as the spearhead of this campaign for the last four months.”

New Bilton’s UKIP candidate Michael Dowling said: “This is outrageous politicising of a worthy local cause that people of all parties have supported. We should all recognise the work John has put in.”