BathNES Green Party Gives Red Card to Proposed Rugby Stadium

3 November 2023

The proposed stadium development at the Recreation Ground in the centre of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, does not appear to comply with Bath and NE Somerset Council’s policies on: heritage, loss of green space, commercial use in a residential area, noise, transport, lighting, flood risk or public health.
The Recreation Ground, however managed, is intended to provide recreation facilities for all residents in Bath and has done so for generations. The site is now managed by a private company mainly providing facilities for a professional rugby team. The public have also been able to make use of the site as it currently exists. The new planned development, although legal, appears in spirit to go against the will of the original grant for use. 
Leader of the Green Party group on the council, Cllr Joanna Wright, said: “Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this proposed development imposes a massive stadium which will impact important views from the city of Bath and also the centre of the city from the east. People come to Bath for the views, and this new stadium will directly affect how we all see the city of Bath. It is clearly over-development in the heart of the city”.
Bath’s Green MP candidate, Dom Tristram, said: “The council’s own planning policies do not support the introduction of year-round retail, bars, conferencing facilities or general hospitality; these uses should be concentrated in Bath city centre according to BANES Council’s own policies. It also introduces unnecessary competition to local retail and hospitality businesses already battered by the pandemic and economic crisis.”
Cllr Saskia Heijltjes, Member Advocate for Active Travel, said: “Transport plans for this application are not sufficient and could result in thousands of new car journeys into a UNESCO world heritage city for every game, at a time when we have to significantly reduce car miles if we are to meet the council’s own climate targets.
“There are hardly any improvements in the plans for walking and cycling or the use of the Park & Ride. The application is woefully poor in its transport obligations and appears to be car-centric. The additional use of the stadium beyond rugby will cause misery for residents across the city and this clearly needs to be rethought and significantly changed.”
Cllr Sam Ross, Member Advocate for Rural Housing and Community Buildings, said: “This development will result in a significant loss of green space and possibly the mature tree canopy that are fundamental to both residents’ wellbeing and the spectacular views across the city that are integral to Bath’s unique character.  The stadium will be an exclusive and privately controlled recreational space with no benefit to residents, local businesses, or the city. The retained space would be severely compromised in terms of the sporting activities which it could and should be accommodating.”
Note: The planning application numbers are 23/3558/EFUL and 23/3559/LBA

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