Landlords ‘will use proper decision making’ in plans for Rec
The landlords of the Rec have clarified their position on a proposed new 18,000-capacity stadium. The Stadium for Bath project is well under way in designing a bigger, permanent stadium on the famous piece of land to be used by Bath Rugby, Bath Rugby Foundation, the community and schools. It would have three covered stands and an open north terrace, and aims to regenerate the riverside area. There is also a plan for the pitch to be raised and an 800space car park built underneath it. In order to make the dream a reality Bath Rugby would need to lease more of the land from Bath Recreation Ltd (formerly Bath Recreation Ground Trust, before it incorporated) than they currently occupy and move the footprint of the stadium further from the river. Last month, Bath Rec Ltd held its annual meeting to “share information about the activities of the charity and future plans for its work for the benefit of those members of the public who use (or may use) the facilities provided by the charity”. As well as the Rec, they now manage Glasshouse playing fields in Combe Down and The Orchard play area and land off Broadmoor Lane, Weston. Before the annual meeting, they received 67 questions from seven members of the public, plus sub questions, on a number of subjects including the new stadium plan. These included questions from six people who object to a new stadium; some of whom believe it would be in breach of the covenants on the land dating back to 1922 and 1956 and go against Bath Rec Ltd’s charitable objectives. In December 2016, the First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber - Charity) confirmed that the then trust - now Bath Rec Ltd has the powers of “absolute owner”. It can “sell, lease, license or otherwise dispose of” all or any part of the Rec as it works to achieve its charitable objectives. Of its current stance on the new stadium, Bath Rec Ltd said: “No request has yet been made by our tenant (Bath Rugby) and no formal plans have been presented to us. “We cannot speculate on the detail or impact of any proposal which may be made by Bath Rugby in future, in relation to the Stadium for Bath. “We have stated publicly that any request will be considered in light of the provisions in the (Charity Commission) Schemes and what the trustees (directors) consider to be in the best interests of the charity. “The trustees will use proper decision making in order to respond to any proposal made in relation to the Stadium for Bath, taking into account all relevant considerations, disregarding any irrelevant considerations and ensuring that we have access to the legal and other professional advice we require at the relevant time. “The provisions set out in the Schedule to the 2016 Scheme are obviously likely to be relevant to any proposal. “We have also stated that planning matters will rest with the planning authority. The charity has no responsibility for planning matters.” Bath Rec Ltd’s charitable objective is: “The provision, with or without charge, of property in or near Bath (including, but not limited to, the Bath Recreation Ground) for use as indoor and outdoor recreation facilities for the benefit of the public.” The Stadium for Bath team are hoping to submit a planning application to B&NES council by the end of the year.