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FAQS

This section is updated regularly.

 

Is the Rec public owned land?

The Rec is not owned by the public. The land is owned by Bath Recreation Limited. Their authority as landlord was clarified by a charity tribunal hearing in 2016. As landlord they have the ability to lease the land to third parties as they deem appropriate.

Can you legally build a new stadium on the Rec?

The Recreation Ground is owned and operated by Bath Recreation Ltd, an independent charity. The purpose of the charity is the provision of property in or near Bath for use as recreation facilities for the benefit of the public. The charity's primary tenants (Bath Leisure Centre and Bath Rugby) provide income which enables it to invest in its charitable purpose. The ruling of the Charity First-Tier Tribunal in December 2016 granted Bath Recreation Ltd power as landlord of The Rec (including its ability to lease the Bath Rugby additional land for a new Stadium).

Would Bath to lose its World Heritage status if a new stadium was built on the Rec?

Stadium for Bath will not submit any designs for planning approval that are detrimental to Bath’s World Heritage status. World Heritage has been at the heart of the design considertations from the outset. In addition, any development in the city, from SouthGate to new housing and even much smaller schemes, are considered by UNESCO in regards to the impact on Bath’s World Heritage status. We are working closely with B&NES Heritage Officers and Historic England (advisors to UNESCO) throughout the entire design process and will continue to do so.

Will Stadium for Bath block the views of Sham Castle from Grand Parade?

A new stadium will not block views to Sham Castle from Grand Parade. Views have been highlighted as an important issue throughout the consultation process. Having listened to feedback we have reduced the height of the design since our first proposals by 5.1 meters, preserving the views to Sham Castle and Bathwick St Mary Church from Grand Parade.

Height reduction has been achieved by the removal of 16 hospitality boxes from the South stand (not replaced elsewhere). The seating rows in the West and East stands have been reduced from 32 rows to 28 rows in each stand, with the reallocation of this seating to the South stand. The removal of 12,000 square feet of commercial space from the West stand (one floor, not replaced elsewhere), and the removal of 10,000 square feet of community space from the East stand (one floor, not replaced elsewhere). Extensive work has been taken to compress the building and roof structures, including the seating rake, wherever possible through engineering.

The design team have also cut back the gable ends of the east and west stands, increasing the gap between Johnstone Street and the new stadium to preserve the views through to Bathwick St Mary Church.

Is the pitch level being raised just so you can create a car park?

No. The Rec is a functional floodplain which stores water in times of flood.

In a major flood event (greater than 1 in 20 years) the flood waters would overflow the flood defence bund

The impact of flooding on sports pitches is significant, particularly in four key scenarios, which may occur in isolation or together.

When high amounts of sediment, contaminants (which can contain E. coli and Salmonella) and sharp or heavy debris from the flood water are deposited onto the playing surface.

When a sewer overflow occurs and foul sewage is included in the flood water and this is deposited onto the playing surface.

When the flood water is slow to drain, leading to stagnant conditions for a prolonged period on the playing surface

When flood waters recede quickly – leading to scouring or severe damage of the surfacE
Stitched-hybrid pitch surfaces are designed to be freely draining and are constructed using very sandy soils to drain freely to allow sport to be played.

Any silt or contaminants left by a flood would reduce the infiltration rate of the pitch significantly – leaving it unsuitable for professional sport use until the sediment could be stripped away and a new surface is constructed and given time to establish.

This can take between three to four months minimum during the winter months when the rugby season is in play.

This is unacceptable for Bath Rugby as the main building tenant in terms of losing 35% of the rugby season and the loss of community use.

Furthermore replacing a stitched-hybrid pitch could lead to cost of £300-500k for pitch reconstruction.

To mitigate this risk over the life of the development, the pitch must be raised above the major flood event (plus climate change) level.

This decision is in line with guidance provided by the Environment Agency, Public Health England and Sport England.

Would the new car park at The Rec increase congestion in the city?

The car park at The Rec would not increase the amount of vehicles coming into the city. The provision of parking at The Rec would serve vehicles coming from the North and East and as a result reduce cross-city traffic and congestion throughout Bath’s historic core.

How would the new car park at The Rec affect air quality in the city?

A car park at The Rec would serve the eastern side of Bath, reducing cross-city journeys and improving air quality as a whole throughout the city.

Will removing the radial gate increase the risk of flooding in Bath?

The Bath Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS), built in 1972 reduces the flood risk to over 1100 properties by increasing the capacity of the channel to allow a greater flow of water.

The gates and horseshoe weir at Pulteney and Twerton are there primarily to maintain the water levels in the river through Bath.

During high flows, Twerton gates reduce river levels as far upstream as Bathampton but Pulteney gate has limited effect on flood levels.

These gates were put in place 47 years ago. Mechanical assets such as these have a design life of 25 years, so the gates have already lasted for nearly double their useful life.

As the gates age, there is more risk of them failing and costs more for the Environment Agency to maintain them, reducing their ability to continue serviceability.

The Environment Agency, Bath and North East Somerset Council and Stadium for Bath are working together to take forward and jointly fund a multi-benefit project to replace Pulteney Radial Gate with a fixed weir that does not increase flood risk.

Why can’t you refurbish your existing stands?

We believe Bath deserves better. Bath City was built on ambition. We are a world heritage rugby city and as such we deserve world class facilities and our plans are for the whole city not just the rugby club.

In 2015 Bath was overlooked as a rugby world cup venue because of our poor facilities. Exeter and Gloucester reaped the economic benefits of hosting world cup games and were showcased internationally.

What extra facilities will there be for the community?

Throughout the project we have been committed to creating a place for everyone, a place which is open and accessible to all, and a stadium with purpose at its core.

1. Social:
a. Classroom space for our Development Academy providing tailored education solutions for young people not in education, employment or training - NEET’s, pre-NEET’s and other children and young adults struggling with mainstream education
b. Chef Academy for those graduating from our Development Academy and typically having social needs, using our spare kitchen capacity to provide a chef qualification
c. Apprenticeships covering Operations, Commercial, Catering, Hospitality
d. 3,000 sqft of non-matchday workspace for charities and not-for-profit organisations struggling with city rents or finding space elsewhere in the city
e. Provision of playing surface for community use with support in terms of changing room facilities
2. Placemaking and Public Realm:
a. Riverside regeneration and new riverside placemaking
b. Removal of the radial gate
c. Provision of public access toilets 365 days per annum including Changing Places designated accessibility toilet and changing facility
d. Nuisance benefits by moving deliveries to the southern end of the Rec and, post-construction with the cessation of dismantling/erecting temporary stands
3. Civic pride:
a. Having a Premiership, and as we believe and hope a Championship winning Premiership Club, in the heart of a city of 80,000 people is unique. This can be a source of pride for all
b. Largest congregation of people in the city at the intersection of the North and South sides of the city. A purposeful development, delivering significant community benefit, is the right example for the Club to be setting

What are the commercial elements of the scheme?

The matchday experience will offer enhanced general ticket and hospitality opportunities.

In terms of non-matchday activity there will be space available for independent food and drink providers to showcase their products to the City.

There will be a Bath Rugby Club shop which will also be a space which celebrates sport and the Club’s history.

There will be space for events in the first floor hospitality lounge, supported with hospitality boxes on the floor above which can be used as break out rooms.

There will also be a tea-room and bar overlooking the city.

We are not creating a retail or market hall. We are creating a civic space, with representatives of the community involved in defining how it should be used, and a space which helps support the social purpose objectives for the site.

General

Where can I find your document 'Draft Development Brief'?

It is available for download and to read online on the following pages:

Design Journey (Concept Design/Preparation of formal Development Brief)

News

Contact Us

Or via this link:
https://issuu.com/stadiumforbath/docs/stadium_for_bath_draft_development_

Where can I find your document 'Exploring the Opportunity?

It is available for download and to read online on the following pages:

Design Journey (Pre-Design/Exploring the Opportunity)

News

Contact Us

What happened to the old plans?

We consulted on a design for a brand new facility at the Rec almost four years ago. Whilst these proposals presented an exciting opportunity for redevelopment at the Rec, we feel that, given the passage of time, it is only right that we should look again at the design for this unique location. This fresh start also provides us with a fantastic opportunity to revisit the potential for realising the wider benefits redevelopment may bring including the regeneration of the riverside; the creation of a vibrant hub serving professional sport, amateur sport and the wider community; and the realisation of a design solution which not only befits an iconic location, but also complements the renowned architecture of the City of Bath.

If you obtain planning permission, where will you play rugby during the construction period?

We stated at the December consultation that our preference was to utilise temporary stands at the Rec. This followed an extensive analysis of potential alternative sites, and would have the benefit of retaining economic benefits within the city.

If we do not play at the Rec, the most likely option would be playing in a rented stadium outside the area.

LEGAL / OWNERSHIP

Who owns the Rec?

The Recreation Ground is owned and operated by the Recreation Ground Trust, an independent charity. The purpose of the charity is the provision of property in or near Bath for use as outdoor recreation facilities for the benefit of the public. The charity's primary tenants (Bath Leisure Centre and Bath Rugby) provide income which enables the charity to invest in the furtherance of its charitable purpose.

Will Bath Rugby be allowed to use more land at the Rec for redevelopment?

The area currently occupied by Bath Rugby is in accordance with the existing leases at the Rec. The ruling of the Charity First-Tier Tribunal in December 2016 regarding the Recreation Ground finally provided clarity over the site. Following this decision the powers of Bath Recreation Ground Trust have been clarified, including its ability to lease the Club additional land for redevelopment. It is anticipated that a new lease would be negotiated with Bath Recreation Ground Trust as designs are developed.

Can I still access the Rec?

Yes. The Recreation Ground will remain open for members of the public to enjoy.

PLANNING PROCESS & TIMESCALES

How does the planning process work?

We will be following Bath and North East Somerset Council’s planning process. Bath Rugby will submit an application to the Council who will determine whether the scheme should go ahead.

When will we see detailed plans?

The final detailed plans will be available to view on this website and the Bath and North East Somerset Council’s website once a planning application has been submitted early in the New Year (2020).

When are you submitting a planning application?

The project team are hoping to submit a planning application early in the New Year (2020).

When will you start building?

This is fully dependent on the planning process and as such it is too early to say.

When will the new stadium be complete?

This is fully dependent on the planning process and as such it is too early to say.

Have you considered building a new stadium on another site?

We are proud to have played rugby on the Rec for 125 years.
We are committed to the Rec; committed to the benefits redevelopment can bring the city, its economy and the community; committed to the power of sport to inspire; committed to the importance for a team and its players to be connected and rooted to their community.

Redevelopment on the Rec is also inscribed in B&NES council’s policy which sets out the Recreation Ground as the location for a sporting, cultural and leisure stadium:
• Policy B1(8)b of the Core Strategy
• Policy SB2 of the Placemaking Plan

DESIGN & BUILD

Will you be building a permanent structure?

Our aim is to build a permanent structure to allow us to provide world class facilities not just for Bath Rugby but for the wider community.

What will the capacity be?

The Club’s aspiration is for a stadium with capacity of up to 18,000.

Will you improve the riverside?

Yes. Riverside regeneration is one of the benefits redevelopment could deliver for the City. Our aspiration is to enhance the riverside whilst protecting its core attributes.

Why are you including a car park?

There are very limited uses for the void created once the pitch is raised out of the floodplain. As the void sits within the floodplain permitted uses (including a car park) are prescribed by the Environment Agency.

In order to develop a stadium which balances the initial investment with the future income streams, it is necessary to provide non-matchday income. A short stay car park will provide this.

We are not increasing car parking spaces in Bath, we are re-providing spaces lost elsewhere during recent redevelopment.

We will be providing short stay car parking outside of the historic core, but within walking distance which accords with council policy and strategy to support the vitality of the city centre.

We are providing over double the current amount of dedicated EV spaces design and we are promoting the use of EV vehicles and also bicycles with our Cycle Club and shower facilities.

What about air quality in the city?

We have appointed Vanguardia to test air quality levels at key points around the city as we take the impact of air quality very seriously. We will produce the results of this study as part of our planning application.

What is a hybrid pitch?

A hybrid pitch is a combination of both natural and synthetic grass fibres. The natural grass is intertwined with synthetic grass fibres which create a durable and natural-looking playing surface.

How is a hybrid pitch installed?

The earth is prepared for natural grass which is then injected with (up to) 20cm long strands of artificial grass. Natural grass seeds are sprinkled over the surface in which the roots penetrate below the surface and entwine the artificial fibres. Typically there is a base layer of sand which helps with drainage and root development.

What are the benefits of a hybrid pitch?

All-weather playing- Natural turf pitches are unable to withstand the high play volumes associated with high-level play and community sports pitches. Hybrid pitches offer the consistency and stability which allows year-round activity to maximise both the professional and community use of the pitch.

Durability- The artificial fibres hold the root zone together whilst the natural grass grows around the fibres and anchors the pitch surface, significantly reducing scarring and gauging of the surface caused, in the main by the scrum, ruck, maul and tackle. The durability the hybrid pitches offer allow increased and consistent pitch usage.

Aesthetics- The pitch maintains a healthy, natural and green appearance all year round due to the significantly reduced damage caused to the natural grass, allowing the plant to flourish.

Maintenance – Once installed, a hybrid pitch requires all of the usual maintenance activity carried out for a real grass pitch, including mowing, watering, fertilisation, scarifying, plant nutrition, and disease and pest management.
Wider community use – The resilience of a hybrid pitch allows the pitch to be used for additional events on non-match days, including community use for grass roots clubs.

How does a hybrid playing surface differ from other grass surfaces?

Where AstroTurf/3G playing surfaces consist of entirely artificial grass fibres layered with a rubber shock-absorbent crumb, hybrid pitches combine artificial grass fibres with natural grass to create a durable and natural playing surface.

Are there any health or environmental effects associated with hybrid pitches?

There are currently no documented health or environmental implications associated with hybrid playing pitches.

HAVING YOUR SAY

Have you already started consulting?

We have had initial meetings with key stakeholders from a wide cross-section of the city. These pre-design listening workshops have helped to inform us at this early stage of the community’s aspirations for the scheme.

When is the next consultation?

Details of the next consultation event will be available on this website in due course.

Can I view the plans and comment online?

Initial plans will be available on the website in due course. You will be able to provide feedback via a link, or you can email us at feedback@stadiumforbath.com

When can I tell you what I think or ask a question?

You can submit feedback or ask a question at any time during the planning process. Please email us at feedback@stadiumforbath.com and we will get back to you.

When can I comment on the planning application?

Once a planning application is registered with Bath and North East Somerset Council you will be able to leave your comments via their website.

How will my comments be taken on board?

We will regularly review all feedback throughout the design process. All feedback is welcomed.