Rugby club plans win backing from public
The vast majority of people commenting on newly-published plans for Bath's Recreation Ground have supported a shake-up which will lead to the city's rugby club developing a bigger arena.
The Charity Commission received 1,868 representations over a document it issued which suggests a land-swap to square Bath Rugby's expansion with the charitable status of the city centre site.
Of these, 1,624 (87 per cent) supported giving the club a lease for a bigger plot of land in exchange for the club's former training facilities at Lambridge passing into the ownership of the Recreation Ground Trust.
But the fact that there were 244 objections means the commission needs to assess these before deciding whether or not to confirm the proposals.
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The trust has the job of ensuring that the use of the Rec does not breach the covenant under which the land was passed to local people – or beneficiaries as they are formally known – in 1956.
The land swap will ensure that no one sport dominates the area which the trust administers, while new arrangements will also legitimise the presence of the city's sports centre.
Trust chairman Councillor David Dixon said: "The trust board is delighted with the strong support that the scheme received through its publication.
"The response of 87 per cent in favour reflects our previous consultation and confirms its validity. Although we are disappointed that the scheme has to go through a further stage, we recognise that the commission has to follow this procedure.
"We are confident that the scheme is in the best interests of the beneficiaries and that our proposal is the right way forward for the Rec."
The trust also says it expects the Rec to host a Somerset County cricket game this summer.
The club has worked on several stadia plans in the last decade.
It will come up with its most definitive plan yet once the commission has given its blessing.
The club – which is keen to dramatically improve the look of the ground from the riverside – would then have to submit a planning application to B&NES Council.