Just before Christmas we held an extra committee meeting to consider the WA’s response to the consultation on the new Stadium for Bath Rugby proposed for the REC. You may have visited to the consultation event that took place in Guildhall in early December.
This will be a contentious planning application with many differing views from the residents and businesses in Widcombe. We would encourage everyone to understand the proposals and express your own views by responding to the consolation at http://stadiumforbath.com .
We considered whether we should submit a WA response to the consultation and believed that your committee should express a Widcombe view based on feedback from our various members. The full response is attached below but in summary we are of the view:
- That many of our members support Bath Rugby staying at the REC. it adds to the vibrancy of Widcombe, brings trade to local businesses and many enjoy being active Bath rugby supporters able to walk to the ground within a few minutes of their home. The existing ground is ugly and not fit for purpose. Not everyone is a rugby support or shares this view.
- We also recognise and appreciate that Bath Rugby has made a significant effort to engage with local residents, supporters and other stakeholders as part of the pre-planning process. We can’t think of another example where there has been so much public engagement at this pre-planning stage. The WA and its members have attend several stakeholder groups and open meetings. We can also see that the design has evolved in part from this feedback.
- However, we believe there are a number of significant concerns with the scheme as currently proposed. The details are in our report but our main concerns can be summarised around the following themes:
- the impact of a 600-700 car park under the REC (not included in the early proposals) and wider transport implications
- the height and mass of the stadium and how it sits on the REC and with the surrounding views and Grade 1 buildings
- detailed design including for flood lighting
- the arrangements for a temporary ground during the development period.
- We are encouraged by some the benefits from the proposed stadium including an improvement to the river frontage and greater community use.
Other Residents Associations in particular PERA (Putney Residents) have commented own the proposals. They shame many of our themes but have made a more detailed response and also developed some mock-up photos looking at the scheme from their perspective. This can be seen at www.pulteneyestates.co.uk/2019/01/stadium-for-bath/
This will no doubt be a major topic of discussion as the proposals progress towards formal planning permission.