Threats to fence off Rugby's Oakfield Park made as housing plan rejected - The Rugby Observer

Threats to fence off Rugby's Oakfield Park made as housing plan rejected

Rugby Editorial 10th Mar, 2016 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

THE OWNERS of Oakfield Park threatened to ‘board up’ the popular recreation ground when their plan to build a housing estate was rejected by Rugby Borough Council (RBC).

The Council’s planning committee voted unanimously against the Heart of England Co-op’s planning application to build 50 new houses on the park.

During the meeting, a Co-Op representative suggested they might fence off the fields due to health and safety concerns if the decision did not go their way.

In response, committee member Coun Kathryn Lawrence said: “The Co-op’s founding principle was to benefit everybody in the community, and so I have got issues with the way in which the representative has actually tried to intimidate us about talking about fencing the land off so that nobody can use it.”

Fellow member Coun Neil Sandison said he felt the representative was trying to ‘hold the council to ransom’.

The application was turned down on grounds that the land should remain a community park.

Planning officers also said the application did not consider the effects on local schools and would not provide affordable housing, adding the housing could not be provided without an “unacceptable and detrimental impact on amenity”.

During protest group Save Oakfield’s campaign against the plans, a petition attracted more than 1,670 signatures, and over 300 letters of objection were submitted to RBC.

After the result, Save Oakfield spokesman Richard Joy said: “We’re delighted.

“It’s been a long and difficult fight to protect this valuable open space. Fortunately we’ve had so much support from hundreds of local residents.

“Our local Councillors, Maggie O’Rourke, Ish Mistry and Steve Birkett, have also been superb and supportive from day one. It wouldn’t have been possible to get this result without everyone involved. ”

The Co-Op had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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