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Controversy Around Plans for New Bath Rugby Recreational Ground

Full plans for a new Bath Rugby Stadium have been unveiled and if approved, would increase the capacity of the current Rec from 12,500 to 18,000.

Stadium for Bath is leading the project and has emphasised that the stadium will be a multi-purpose, community-focused facility, helping to ease concerns of local residents. Community benefits will include a 700 capacity underground car park open to the public on non-match days, and a fully or part-artificial pitch creating a space for music concerts and other Bath-based events. The new West Stand is also set to be home to a food-hall in order to help promote the city’s food scene.

With the proposed stadium set to inject £10 million per year into the city, with a further £10 million per year from visitors, how can anyone knock it? Alas, the newly proposed stadium has not been without its controversy. Being the first four-sided stadium of its kind to be built in Bath, many have questioned the effects such a bold development will have on the surrounding views, especially from Pulteney Bridge. Anything that risks detracting from the beauty of the Roman-built World Heritage site will surely spark anger amongst residents.

To quash such concerns, a special roof should help to reduce the external visual impact of the stadium and improve the spectators’ views.

Other exciting features include a regeneration of the Avon’s riverside, which runs along the stadiums West Stand. Plans are for this stand to be pushed back 17 metres, making way for a new riverside park to house some of the cities local artists and performers. Sustainability will also be an important aspect of the designs, which include solar-panels and electric car charging ports.  

Whether you’re a fan of the project or not, the final decision rests with Bath and North East Somerset Council, who are expected to receive a planning application early this year.

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