BREAKING: Developer trying to build on Oakfield Rec pulls out of appeal inquiry on the first day

Oakfield Rec.
Oakfield Rec.

The developer behind a proposal to build a huge retirement village on the fenced-off Oakfield Rec has pulled out an appeal process that they began.

In December 2018 Rugby council's planning committee unanimously decided to reject developer McCarthy & Stone's plan to build a retirement village of 62 apartments and 14 bungalows.

The developer appealed this decision, resulting in an inquiry - consisting in a series of public hearings headed by a planning inspector which began at Rugby Town Hall this morning, September 24.

McCarthy & Stone hired a top lawyer to represent them at the hearings while residents, Rugby council and campaigners from Save Oakfield were joining forces to protect the park.

But McCarthy & Stone pulled of the inquiry on the first day.

A representative for McCarthy & Stone this morning asked the planning inspector to consider a compromise whereby they would build the 62 apartments, but not the 14 bungalows, and potentially hand the unused land over to become a park again.

The inspector rejected this proposal - prompting McCarthy & Stone to ask for an adjournment - and that request was denied.

After some conferring on between the side representing McCarthy & Stone, it was announced that they would withdraw from the inquiry.

Last week McCarthy & Stone took Rugby Council to court to argue that our borough's Local Plan has an excessive allocation of open spaces.

Had this case been successful, Rugby council's argument against building on Oakfield Rec would have been severely weakened.

But the judge found in favour of Rugby council, describing McCarthy and Stone's argument as: "close to being totally without merit."
This meant that, as McCarthy & Stone entered the inquiry this morning, the case for their original plan was weakened.

Meanwhile, McCarthy & Stone has submitted a new plan to build on the park.

However these proposals are so new it is not known if they are at all similar to the 'compromise' they attempted to have the planning inspector consider today.