Where we are at…

Background

FIRST PLANNING APPLICATION

In May 2015,  the Co-op’s agent, PJ Planning, submitted an outline planning application to build 60 residential dwellings on Oakfield Recreation Ground. The application was refused March 2016. Refusal was appealed by the Co-op, August 2016. In April 2017 the Co-op withdrew their appeal, two weeks before it was due to be heard by the Planning Inspectorate.

SECOND PLANNING APPLICATION

In February 2018 the Co-op’s newly appointed agent, McCarthy & Stone, submitted a planning application to build an Extra Care Retirement Village consisting of a 3-storey apartment block (62 apartments) and 14 bungalows.

In December 2018 the application was rejected by Rugby Borough Council. In February 2019 the Co-op’s agent, YourLife Management Services Ltd, appealed the decision.

In July 2019, before the Appeal hearing was due to start, Rugby Borough Council’s Planning Officer indicated that he was in favour of investigating whether a compromise position could be reached, whereby part of Oakfield was granted planning permission for development, with the remaining land put back to public use. 

THIRD PLANNING APPLICATION

At the end of August 2019, whilst the appeal was ongoing, the Planning Officer confirmed that a new planning application had been submitted by McCarthy & Stone [21/8/2019] based on the previous one (at appeal) but without the bungalows.This application has been validated by the Planning Department 25/10/2019 – https://planning.agileapplications.co.uk/rugby/application-details/30534

When the Appeal was heard in September 2019, McCarthy & Stone tried to introduce a reduced scheme by removing the bungalows but this was rejected by the Planning Inspector on the first day. McCarthy & Stone subsequently pulled out of the Appeal.

In the spirit of compromise, McCarthy & Stone has reached out to Save Oakfield to see if there is any prospect of a compromise with a new scheme. 

Save Oakfield feedback

Save Oakfield has always been committed to saving the entire park. But rather than refusing to cooperate with McCarthy & Stone, we listened to what they had to say and made a few observations regarding a less-objectionable scheme. It is in no way an endorsement of anything McCarthy & Stone is attempting to do with Oakfield.

With the Planning Officer seemingly open to a compromise on a partial development of Oakfield back in July 2019, the Save Oakfield Group suggested that a 3-storey monolith might be better located away from residential housing on the West and South of Oakfield, situated instead on the East of the site (concept below). This would allow the park to retain its existing visual link with Bilton Road as a green space near to the Town centre. The Planning Officer was happy for McCarthy & Stone to look at viable options. When a potential objection from Heritage was raised (based on development of the site nearest to Oakfield House), the Planning Officer said that we needed to be practical and pragmatic. 

Planning Officer’s feedback

McCarthy & Stone subsequently looked at an East development. Having reviewed their alternative scheme, the Planning Officer concluded that the proposed scheme on the East of the site would cause harm to the grade II* listed building to the East of Oakfield. Furthermore, that the open space would not be readily usable for a variety of uses and the apartment block would fail to appropriately integrate with the existing neighbourhood. It is his opinion that a development on the East of the site will not work.

It looks as though the scheme to the South of Oakfield will now go ahead as an application for planning permission. McCarthy & Stone has indicated that they will see if they can tweak the 3-storey building to allow more of a visual connection between Bilton Road and Oakfield, at the South West corner of the site, but they are under commercial pressure to deliver a viable scheme for a January Planning Committee meeting.

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1 reply
  1. Nada O''Meara
    Nada O''Meara says:

    I am whole heartedly against any building on this open space and a letter of objection has been sent.

    Reply

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