Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 17:18 UK

Plan could end stalemate at Rec

Bath Recreation Ground
The club wants to build a 15,000-seat stadium on the Rec site

A plan to secure the future of Bath Rugby at its Recreation Ground site could help to end a long legal wrangle.

Bath Rugby wants to build a 15,000-seat stadium on the ground but the proposals have been rejected by the trust which manages the Recreation Ground site.

The site has a covenant requiring that it is preserved for the enjoyment of the citizens of Bath.

Under the plan land elsewhere in the city could be made available for public enjoyment, which may sway the decision.

Land at Firs Field in Coombe Down, to the south of the city, could be made available to replace green space lost to the new stadium under proposals by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

At present this is being used to house equipment used to make concrete foam to stabilise the nearby Coombe Down mines.

There are legal opportunities to do it within the law. It just comes down to whether the benefits of the proposal outweigh the negatives of the proposal
Councillor Chris Watts

If this land was gifted to the citizens of Bath it could compensate for the loss of land the proposed new stadium would take from the Recreation Ground.

But before this could happen the trustees would have to convince the Charity Commissioners it was a good idea.

Councillor Chris Watts, chairman of the Recreation Ground Trustees, believed the proposal was a real option.

"There are legal opportunities to do it within the law," he said. "It just comes down to whether the benefits of the proposal outweigh the negatives of the proposal.

"That's what we're talking to the Commissioners about at the moment."

'Temporary facilities'

Bath Rugby said it needed to expand its capacity to meet the demands of the rugby union game's authorities.

The rugby ground which uses part of the Recreation Ground currently holds 9,000 spectators but the club wants to expand this to 15,000.

Chief executive of Bath Rugby, Bob Calle said the supporters deserved better facilities.

"I feel for the fans, they've had to put up with temporary stands with no roof, temporary refreshments, temporary toilets.

"All that side has to be improved," he said

However even if the Charity Commissioners were convinced by the proposals then the club would still have to arrange finance and get planning permission.



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SEE ALSO
Council in talks over rugby club
15 Apr 09 |  Somerset
Board supports latest rec survey
24 Mar 07 |  Somerset
Surveys' support for rugby ground
17 Mar 07 |  Somerset

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