Rokeby playing field petition backed by 2,000 names

Campaigners hand over the petition
Campaigners hand over the petition

A petition signed by 2,000 people has been handed over to Rugby Borough Council calling on its leader to lobby civil servants about the value of under-threat playing fields.

Council Leader Michael Stokes has been urged to write to civil servants about the value the council places on Rokeby Field.

Residents are concerned the recreation ground could be lost as part of plans for two free schools there.

The petition was organised by campaign group SHARE (Sustainable Hillside and Rokeby Education).

Its chairman Sally Chant said: “Civil servants are planning to take the playing fields and build two new schools on them. They have not consulted Rugby Borough Council and are refusing to come to Rugby to explain them.

“We are asking for a full debate in the Council Chamber and for the borough council to write to the civil servants to explain the value of these playing fields to the public.”

The petition was handed over to the council on Monday and accepted by officers. The group wanted Cllr Stokes to accept it but he emailed Sally, said the group, to state ‘due to a combination of previous commitments and holidays, I can’t commit to someone accepting the petition in person’.

Sally was flanked by a dozen residents when handing over the petition.

SHARE supporter George Baines, of Ecton Leys, Rugby, said: “This is a half-baked scheme. There has been far less consultation than we saw with David Wilson Homes’ plan for Ashlawn Fields.”

Fellow supporter Sheila Cook, of Long Furlong, Rugby, said: “This is a ridiculous place to put new schools. I just can’t see how it is going to be feasible to fit that amount of traffic into the space available.”

Cllr Stokes said: “The borough council has no jurisdiction over these proposals as Warwickshire County Council is [both] the landowner and the local education authority, and is the authority which will decide any future planning application.

“However, I recognise the strength of public feeling and intend to write to the county council to inform it that we have received the petition.”