Sports fans' warning over blueprint for future of Bath Rugby at The Rec
Sports fans say the damage caused to Bath by rejection of a solution to the uncertainty surrounding the Recreation Ground would be “incalculable”.
A 4,800-strong pressure group is urging its members to show support for a new blueprint which will pave the way for Bath Rugby to develop a bigger ground at its historic home.
The document - called a scheme - has been published by the Charity Commission in what is being hailed as the best chance of resolving a decade of deadlock over the city centre green lung, which has charitable status.
The Real Friends of the Rec group says it wholeheartedly supports the initiative, which would see rugby club land at Lambridge passed into public ownership.
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The site would be overseen by the Recreation Ground Trust in a so-called land swap, aimed at offsetting an increase in the amount of land leased to the rugby club at The Rec.
Chairman Peter Downey said: “The detriments to the trust must be resolved so that ongoing financial uncertainties are ended, and a firm legal precedent can be established for The Rec to be sympathetically developed for the benefit of all – all sport for all people. A continuation of the status quo must not be allowed to continue.
“Should the draft scheme not be implemented and the trust’s major financial contributor is forced to relocate, the detriment to The Rec, the city as a whole and particularly the Recreation Ground Trust would be incalculable.
“This important opportunity for a sympathetic, balanced and pragmatic way forward must not be wasted.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Rec trust, Councillor David Dixon is to hold an open house surgery on the proposals at B&NES Council’s Manvers Street One Stop Shop tomorrow between 3pm and 5.30pm.
He said: “The issues at The Rec have been going on for a number of years now and the scheme will at last enable these to be resolved. We want to make sure that the people of Bath and the surrounding areas who are the beneficiaries of the trust are aware of the recent developments and fully understand the trust’s proposals to take the Rec into the future.”
The scheme will be live all through December, during which time members of the public can make representations on it to the Charity Commission. The commission will decide on whether to confirm the scheme early in the New Year.
A booklet, The Future for the Rec has been published to accompany the publication of the draft scheme. This summarises the background to the issues at The Rec, sets out the trust’s proposals and gives details of how to respond to the commission. The booklet is available at libraries, leisure centres, one stop shops and the Guildhall.