Frome Rugby are following this story closely : Bath files fallback plan in case stadium bid fails

  Posted: 09.06.21 at 12:17 by By Local Democracy Reporter Stephen Sumner

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Bath Rugby says its backup plan will have an “entirely positive” impact on the city’s heritage if its dreams of a new 18,000-seater stadium are dashed.

While legal battles over ownership of the Rec rumbled on, in 2016 the club secured permission to replace its “severely ageing” west stand on the bank of the River Avon.

That approval is set to expire so it has filed a fresh application.

If implemented, the new west stand would replicate the previous structure and seat 3,274 spectators, a reduction of 926 compared to the temporary stand erected in 2016, taking the stadium’s capacity back down to around 13,500.

However, Bath Rugby said its 2016 application for a permanent west stand was “theoretical”, “never intended to be implemented” and “merely a means of securing clarity in relation to future redevelopment” so continued use of the Rec was not put at risk.

It said then it remained “committed to a permanent solution for the redevelopment at the Rec”.

The new plans say: “This application effectively resubmits a previously consented scheme which was approved on May 12, 2016.

“This current application will similarly provide the club with a fallback position if the comprehensive redevelopment proposals do not come forward, for whatever reason, following the recent further delays caused by the global pandemic.”

The move may give some hints about the dimensions of the new Stadium for Bath.

Bath Rugby has not revealed what impact axing controversial plans for a 550-space car park under the pitch would have on the overall height of the Stadium for Bath, but proposals for the permanent west stand would see its roof height reduced by 2.97 metres compared to the interim structure.

The plans say: “The proposed building will reuse the foundations, floor slab and rear wall of the original west stand and reinstate the original substructure that was removed to facilitate the current interim stand.

“The reinstated permanent stand will provide seating for approximately 3,274 spectators, a reduction of 926 seats relative to the current interim stand.

“The height to the main roof of the reinstated stand will be 2.97 metres lower than the roof of the interim stand.”

They go on to say: “The outward effect of the proposal is to replace the superstructure of a stadium stand with an essentially similar stand that is smaller.

“Hence, in terms of heritage impact, whatever the effect of the current structure, the proposed replacement structure has correspondingly reduced impact – reduced visual impact (on the Conversation Area, World Heritage site and setting of listed buildings) and reduced impact on views across the site.

“The heritage impact of the physical proposal itself is not only ‘less than substantial, it is entirely positive.”

Bath and North East Somerset Council will decide the fate of the application, reference number 21/02311/FUL.

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