SILENCE has greeted Rugby Borough Council’s attempts to save Oakfield Playing Field from developers.
The council has offered to buy the land from The Heart of England Co-Op rather than see it sold to developers, but has received no response.
The Co-op also refused the council’s request to extend its 30-year lease on the land when it ran out last year.
The council’s leader called for urgent talks with the Co-op to secure the long-term future of the recreation ground.
Coun Michael Stokes, who attended a public meeting on Monday (October 27) to discuss the issue, said: “Oakfield Recreation Ground is a prized public open space and it was excellent to see so many members of the local community attend the meeting who were so passionate about retaining this piece of land in its current form.
“We have worked hard to secure the recreation ground for the community, first by seeking to extend the lease and then by offering to buy the land.
“However, the Heart of England Co-op has so far frustrated our efforts to hold meaningful talks over the land’s future.
“Having heard the concerns raised by residents at Monday’s meeting, I call on the Co-op to put the needs of the community first and enter discussions with the council to find a way of protecting Oakfield Recreation Ground for future generations.”
The land, owned by the neighbouring Co-Op Funeral Services, has been leased to Rugby Borough Council for some 30 years, but the company has outlined a proposal to build 62 homes there.
It has also suggested funding ‘alternative recreational facilities’ in the village of Marton – revealed in the Observer last week.
The Co-Op declined to comment on the issue.
An online petition against the development – at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/say-no-to-bilton-road-development – has so far attracted just under 1,350 signatures.
A Facebook group has also been set up – search the site for ‘Say No To Bilton Road Development’.