Campaigners 'mortified' after new retirement village plan proposed for Oakfield Park - The Rugby Observer

Campaigners 'mortified' after new retirement village plan proposed for Oakfield Park

Andy Morris 7th Nov, 2017 Updated: 7th Nov, 2017   0

‘MORTIFIED’ was the reaction of campaigners trying to save Oakfield Park from development, after a new plan emerged to build a retirement village on the fenced-off recreation ground.

Retirement housebuilder McCarthy and Stone wants to build a Retirement Living Plus Extra Care village, including bungalows, while leaving part of the Bilton Road site as public open space.

The park was fenced off by its owners, the Heart of England Cooperative Society, after its plan to build 50 new homes there was rejected by Rugby Borough Council (RBC) last year on the grounds it should remain a community park.

But despite withdrawing its appeal against that refusal in April this year, the Co-op has continued to market the site for development.

Martin Edwards, deputy regional managing director at McCarthy and Stone, said: “Our plans will improve the housing choices for local older homeowners, while providing part of the site as public open space.

“There is a strong need for this type of specialist accommodation in Rugby. McCarthy and Stone’s plans for an Extra Care retirement village will improve local housing choice.

“Residents of Extra Care accommodation are typically looking to ease the burden of maintaining a larger family property, which releases existing houses back into the market for families.”

The plans, still in design stages, have not yet been submitted to Rugby Borough Council – but have been shown to community representatives at a preliminary meeting.

But Save Oakfield spokesman Richard Joy described that meeting as ‘entirely unproductive’.

He said: “The green space on offer makes the Co-op’s plans look extremely generous in comparison.

“The need for retirement properties can be met in other wards with greater available space on land that has been earmarked for development.

“The suggestion that retirement properties will free up local housing is irrelevant as Rugby’s Local Plan covers housing requirements until 2031.”

Adding that campaigners were ‘mortified but not surprised’ at the new plan, he said the area around Oakfield was already lacking in outdoor space even before the park was fenced off.

He said: “The community will be the losers if this development is granted permission. If this happens, RBC will have demonstrated a route for other such land-owners to replace protected open spaces with concrete, setting a very dangerous precedent for the borough.”

A public exhibition of the plans will be held at Arnold House, Elsee Road from 1-8pm on Wednesday (November 15). Visit for more information.


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