Rugby council calls on Co-op to return Oakfield Rec to community after two failed attempts to build on the site

The park has been fenced-off since 2016.
The park has been fenced-off since 2016.

Rugby council has called on the Heart of England Co-op to return Oakfield Recreation Ground to the people of Rugby after it was fenced-off.

Oakfield Rec, owned by the Heart of England Co-op, was previously leased by Rugby council so it could be used as a park.

But in 2016 the lease expired and the Co-op fenced-off the park and refused to discuss the possibility of a new lease with the council after it failed to get permission to build homes on the site.

And on December 5 of this year developers McCarthy and Stone failed to get permission to build a retirement village on the park.

Both applications were rejected on the basis they would constitute an unacceptable loss of open space.

Rugby council has made repeated attempts to buy the land off the Heart of England Co-op so it can be returned to its use as a park - and council leader Michael Stokes has made a renewed call on the Co-op to come to a solution.

Cllr Stokes said: "Over the last four years I have urged the Heart of England Co-op to listen to the community it serves and hold meaningful discussions with the council over the future of Oakfield Rec.

"Our offer to buy the land at its current market value remains on the table and I once again call on the Co-op to resolve this long-running saga and return Oakfield Rec to the community.”

This newspaper has asked the Heart of England Co-op for comment twice – but has received no response.

A resident told the Advertiser they asked the Co-op about the possibility of crowdfunding a purchase of the land – but the Co-op told them contractual arrangements with another party mean they ‘cannot engage’ with the resident at this time.