Co-op calls time on Oakfield play area and recreation ground

Save Oakfield has received this press release from Rugby Borough Council. We will be responding within the next few days.

Rugby Borough Council will dismantle Oakfield play area by 22 June, after Heart of England Co-operative ordered the council to remove all of the children’s play equipment and vacate the recreation ground.

The recreation ground is owned by the Co-op but has been leased to the council and enjoyed by the community for many years. The Co-op has now exercised its right not to renew the lease and instructed the council to remove the children’s play area and return the recreation ground to its previous condition ready to hand back. The council’s insurance on the site and its responsibility to mow and maintain it will end at midnight on 22 June 2016.

Cllr Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “The Co-operative is the landlord and they do have the right to deny local communities access to this much loved recreation ground and children’s play area.

“I am deeply disappointed in the Co-operative’s decision, but sadly I am not surprised.

“We have offered to buy the recreation ground previously, and have repeated that offer, but the Co-op has turned us down. Nevertheless, our offer remains on the table.

“It is the council’s view that the play area and recreation ground is a vital facility for the community in and around New Bilton, and that it should remain a community facility.”

The Oakfield Recreation Ground has been the subject of a planning application from the Heart of England Co-operative. The application, for 50 houses, was refused by the council’s planning committee on 9 March 2016, on the grounds that there was insufficient space for 50 houses, there was no affordable housing provision, and that the proposed replacement open space was insufficient to compensate for the loss of the recreation ground.

Cllr Stokes added: “Even at this late stage I would ask the Co-operative to reconsider their decision and to act in the best interests of the communities they serve. The play area and recreation ground could still remain if the Co-op were to change their decision now.”

4 replies
  1. Heather Koumi
    Heather Koumi says:

    I presume this is to strengthen their argument for development. To let it become a waste ground And an eye sore. Always on the cards.

  2. Carl Jones
    Carl Jones says:

    Unfortunately the co-op have now resorted to a dirty tricks campaign .We reluctantly probably need more affirmative action, such as a mass protest,a play in, where the play area is mass occupied on the day the council is due to dismantle to show depth of feeling for the park,or any other passive form of protest .

  3. Jim Finch
    Jim Finch says:

    I seem to remember that many years ago Rugby Town F.C. had to leave that site because the Co-op wanted to do something else with it, but they never did. Although it may just be that they could get more money from the Council at that time.

  4. C. O'Leary
    C. O'Leary says:

    Sore losers! A blatant case of the Co-op spitting their dummy out. If they can’t get what they want they’d rather spoil the fun for all the local children who use that play area, instead of accepting that the needs of local children to have somewhere to play outweighs their desire to make more money. Not a bit community minded! !


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