New hopes to save Oakfield rec from housing

Residents attended a public meeting on Monday to discuss the plans
Residents attended a public meeting on Monday to discuss the plans
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Hopes are rising for the future of a popular park threatened by plans to build dozens of homes on the site.

Oakfield recreation ground in Bilton Road is owned by the Heart of England Co-operative Society, which wants to sell the land to property developers.

The proposal has met strong resistance from people living nearby – but following long-awaited talks with the Co-op yesterday (Wednesday), opponents of the plan hope the business will now change its mind.

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, who attended the meeting, said: “We left the Co-op in no doubt about the strength of feeling over this open space.

“We are sceptical about the planning side of things as it’s a protected open space so it’s very unlikely that consent would be granted.”

Borough council leader Cllr Michael Stokes also attended the meeting, which was held with Heart of England Co-operative Society chief executive Ali Kurji.

Cllr Stokes said: “Mr Kurji stated he was keen to progress with the application with a view to submitting a planning application next week.

“But as the meeting progressed, we discussed a number of options and it became obvious to us that they were considering our position.

“It is a positive outcome as we have opened up direct communication with the Co-operative and Mark and I have said we are at their disposal and are willing to discuss all options.”

John Brown, the chairman of community group Save Oakfield, is determined to get the residents’ message across. He said: “We plan to hold placards outside their stores and put banners on houses to get our message across.”

Neighbours will tie yellow ‘Save Oakfield’ ribbons around trees in the park on Saturday at 10am.

The Co-op was unavailable for comment as the Advertiser went to press.