Rugby fans object to Recreation Ground town green bid as people in Weston look to protect field
A 4,800-strong pressure group has lodged an objection to an application to make The Rec into an official town green.
The Real Friends of the Rec, which is backing Bath Rugby’s plans for a new sports arena, says the application by Bathwick resident Jack Sparrow should fall at the first hurdle.
Mr Sparrow has submitted the application in an attempt to derail the rugby club’s expansion plans at its historic home.
RFoTR chairman Peter Downey says in a letter to Bath and North East Somerset Council that the land does not meet the criteria for a town green because there has not been free and open access to all of it for the last 20 years.
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He points to a case in North Yorkshire last year, where an application failed, and adds: “We are also concerned about the consequences of making the Rec a Town/Village Green. I believe that one of these consequences would be to make all the current activities on the Rec, including the leisure centre, unlawful - with major negative impacts on the citizens of Bath. In addition the Rec Trust and B&NES Council could be left with a large financial liability which would end up with the council taxpayers of B&NES.”
Meanwhile, people in Weston are aiming to apply for town or village green status for land now likely to be earmarked for housing there.
Councillors this week agreed that a field behind Purlewent Drive should be included in land allocated for housing over the next decade and a half in the B&NES Core Strategy.
Residents say the field has been used for more than 50 years by local residents for dog-walking, jogging, hiking, kite flying and sledging.
The application for town/village green status will need to include statements from local residents confirming that the field has been used for recreational purposes for the last 20 years.
The residents say they need to get their application in quickly to avoid it being killed off by the Government’s Growth and Infrastructure Bill, which will rule out the status for land already allocated for development even on a draft blueprint. The Bill is expected to become law in the next few weeks.
Organisers have asked for expressions of support via firstname.lastname@example.org.