Claims of sabotage in battle for Rugby's Oakfield Park - The Rugby Observer
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Claims of sabotage in battle for Rugby's Oakfield Park

Rugby Editorial 9th Apr, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

DEVELOPERS have been accused of deliberately trying to leave a Rugby park to become overgrown so that plans to build homes on it are more appealing.

The Observer understands that Heart of England Co-Operative, which owns Oakfield recreation ground, has been in contact with Rugby Borough Council to ask it to stop maintaining the land.

The council’s lease on the land expired in 2013 and Heart of England Co-operative has outlined plans to build 62 homes at the site.

Campaigners from the Save Oakfield Group insist the move is a deliberate attempt to leave the land to become overgrown so that development seems like the better option and at the expense of those who use the park.

Richard Joy, from the group, said if the council had been asked to stop maintaining the land it would represent a ‘spiteful’ move by the developer, who was unavailable for comment when we approached them this week.

“The Save Oakfield group is aware that conversations have taken place between Heart of England Co-operative and the council” he said.

“If it is true that the developer is instructing the council to stop mowing the grass and maintaining the land so that it becomes overgrown then that would be a rather spiteful thing to do from the point of view of our group and the many residents who enjoy using the space.”

A spokesperson for Rugby Borough Council confirmed that conversations had taken place with developers in relation to the maintenance of Oakfield recreation ground.

They said: “At present the council considers it has an ongoing legal duty to maintain the recreation ground in the public interest and will continue to do so until formally instructed to stop.”

A spokesperson for Heart of England Co-operative said no one from the company was available to comment on the issue.

The Save Oakfield Group recently announced it has made an application to Warwickshire County Council for Oakfield recreation ground to be recognised as a town green.

If successful the land would be legally protected.

Richard Joy continued: “The application has the potential to be a real game changer.

“If it is successful then a line can be drawn under the whole campaign without the need to fight a planning application by Heart of England Co-op.”

The group is urging residents to write to Warwickshire County Council in support of the application.

Details can be found on the Save Oakfield Facebook page or by contacting saveoakfield@gmail.com.

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