Rokeby in uproar as digging starts on field

Digging under way on Rokeby Field NNL-160523-171805001
Digging under way on Rokeby Field NNL-160523-171805001

Outraged Rokeby residents claim a much-loved field by their homes has been devastated today, Monday, by work which has taken place without warning.

Rokeby Field is threatened by the controversial plans to bring two new schools to this corner of Rugby – and people living nearby are furious at the damage done by today’s work.

They have already been alarmed at the lack of meaningful consultation over the idea of Rugby Free Secondary School and the separate Macintyre Free Special School landing on their doorsteps – and today’s discovery just adds to the feeling they are being treated with contempt.

One resident told the Advertiser: “In just hours this morning, our local playing field was decimated.

“Diggers arrived unannounced at 7.30am, and started excavating to a depth of three metres with no warning to local residents or councillors.

“This seems like yet another action undertaken without proper consultation or notification – the kind of secrecy that is becoming standard behaviour with regards to the ‘proposed’ building of schools on Rokeby playing field.

“It would be nice to assume that whoever organised the digging will repair the field, because it’s no longer safe to use as a sports field, particularly for children. But considering how the EFA, DfE, Warwickshire County Council and Knowledge Schools Trust (the body behind Rugby Free Secondary) have behaved so far, we aren’t holding out much hope.”

At the first sign of activity on the field, residents contacted one of their borough councillors, Cllr Bill Lewis, who went to the site to see what was happening.

He said the contractors were carrying out a range of tests and taking samples associated with preparation for development.

Rokeby Field is popular with residents for the likes of dog walking and playing football – and there is a bridleway which runs along it whichis also in regular use.

Alongside the lack of warning about the work starting, Cllr Lewis is also worried about the safety issue and has tried to contact Warwickshire County Council, so far without success.

He added: “The message is that as a ward councillor for the area I have concerns that the bridleway has not been cordoned off, there are no warning notices at the field entrances and the immediate neighbours have not been informed that work is being done on the field using a large excavator and other vehicles.”