Bath City FC need to be more open

Bath Chronicle - - OPINION -

“Bath City FC should get out of Tw­er­ton as they re­ally don’t care what they do to us res­i­dents.” That’s what one an­gry Tw­er­ton lady typed on so­cial me­dia, af­ter try­ing to get an­swers in the club’s lat­est con­sul­ta­tions with the com­mu­nity over their pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment of Tw­er­ton Park. And while I can see that the re­de­vel­op­ment has its mer­its, I do have some sym­pa­thy for her view. With pro­pos­als to build stu­dent blocks with up to 390 be­d­rooms, the scheme would be vis­ually op­pres­sive and an ex­am­ple of overde­vel­op­ment. And I sus­pect with oth­ers, that the board have treated it as a fore­gone out­come no mat­ter what res­i­dents say. To date, the con­sul­ta­tion process has been ap­palling, with the com­mu­nity never given re­li­able il­lus­tra­tions as to the vis­ual im­pact that this scheme would have. The lat­est il­lus­tra­tions show two rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent pic­tures, with one ap­par­ently un­der­stat­ing the blot that six-storey blocks ris­ing be­hind the High Street would cre­ate. The one is­sue where the club re­ally seem to be ‘lis­ten­ing’ is to do with the park­ing prob­lems that would be caused - and I sus­pect that this has more to do with feed­back from plan­ners in re­sponse to the club’s pre-plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion, than with con­cerns the lo­cal com­mu­nity has raised. The prospect of hav­ing sev­eral hun­dred more stu­dents com­pet­ing with Tw­er­ton’s poor for low-paid work in the area is also a con­cern, po­ten­tially hav­ing an im­pact on qual­ity of life in a ward that al­ready ranks high on the In­dex of Mul­ti­ple De­pri­va­tion. I re­call that when I at­tended a meet­ing of the Bath City FC Com­mu­nity Work­ing Group ear­lier this year, ev­ery­one agreed that the scheme was con­tro­ver­sial, that there would need to com­pro­mise, and that the stu­dents them­selves come away with a bad deal (pay­ing high rents for small apart­ments). Sud­denly these meet­ings, or in­vites to them, stopped. Fancy that. Joe Scofield South­down Bath

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