Land­lords ‘will use proper de­ci­sion mak­ing’ in plans for Rec

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS - Daniel Evans Sports ed­i­tor @som­lives­port | 01225 322300 daniel.evans@reach­

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.

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