Bath City Football Club will be entering the new year still playing a waiting game.
It’s all fingers crossed for the result of a crucial planning application which, if approved, will secure its long-term future at Twerton.
The community-owned club has previously made public its need to make changes in order to remain in Twerton and resolve its own finances. It currently has £1million of debt, due for repayment by 2022, and is still running at a loss.
In 2017 Bath City announced it was working with Greenacre Capital on a joint scheme to both redevelop part of Twerton High Street and Twerton Park football ground. The planning application includes a new grandstand, community hub and a 3G pitch alongside Purpose Built Student Accommodation.
Bath and North East Somerset Council is likely to make its ruling on the application in February.
Nick Blofeld, Chair of Bath City Football Club, said, “We think Bath City FC is an important part of the community and we have been playing at Twerton Park since 1932. We’re really hoping for a positive outcome from the planning committee meeting as we want to stay here.
“We have worked closely with Bath and North East Somerset Council throughout this process and we’re appreciative of the advice and guidance they have given us. There has also been a huge amount of support, with record numbers of comments of support on the planning portal from the Bath community, who are keen to see a brighter, more secure club, able to play a bigger part in the community.
“As a community-owned club, we have done the responsible thing and devised a scheme to help ensure our long term future in Twerton and pay off our debts, and the decision now rests in the hands of our elected councillors in Bath.
Talking about the wider benefits the proposals will bring to the community of Twerton, Nick Blofeld added, “We firmly believe the scheme developed with Greenacre brings numerous benefits not just for the Club but also the community. There is also a great opportunity here for further investment in Twerton, with the West of England Combined Authority already offering another £650k for improvements if our development goes ahead. A refreshed High Street will attract new shops and businesses and we’ll be creating improved public spaces and a Club with useful, usable space year-round.”
The application comes after much work and four rounds of comprehensive public consultation and community liaison, and on the back of the Club’s most successful season for many years, which saw record crowds at Twerton Park, with more than 1,000 spectators regularly attending every game.
A community shareholders and supporters’ leaflet regarding the development’s current status will be available to view at https://www.bathcityfc.com/twerton-park-redevelopment/. The Club will also keep supporters updated via social media handle @BathCity_FC and regular website updates.
It is disappointing to see that a responsible organisation like BCF, who claim to act in the best interests of the health of their community and environment, have not researched further than papers issued by the plastics industry and Sport England when considering their proposed 3G pitch.
The ECHA document, referred to in their policy on Rubber Crumb and 3G pitches, comes with a heavy caveat and has been superseded by even newer research. The others are mostly presentations by the manufacturers association, to the ECHA board, asking for alleviation from any future restrictions.
Subsequent to the ECHA report, much quoted by vested interest, the EU General Court ruled in favour of a submission that Bisphenol A, a very common constituent of plastics, is to be regarded as a ‘substance of very high concern’ for its hormonal disrupting properties on the human body.
This ruling was, of course, opposed by the plastics industry.
Below is a link to a talk given by Dr. Peter Myers, chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, at a symposium in Holland on 10th October 2019. The symposium was the first Plastic Health Summit to be held and Dr Myers’ talk was entitled “impact of plastic additives on the health of future generations”. There are many more presentations worth watching but this is one of the most impactful.
I urge all parents to view this talk and consider whether it is wise to go along with the bland assurances of vested interest and allow their children to use a plastic pitch. It may be painted green and called artificial turf but it is only shredded vehicle tyres and plastic.
Sadly, this is a pressing problem for the environment and the long term health of our children that is not being addressed rapidly enough by policy and regulation. Every day new evidence emerges that urges a policy of banning such installations. It appears that Sport England and other authorities in this country are turning a blind eye to these very inconvenient research findings.
There is much evidence now in the public domain and nobody can say that they didn’t know about it. They can choose only to ignore it. This should give the promotors of such schemes pause for reflection because there are liability claims coming down the line towards you.
Bisphenols, as Dr Myers and others explain, are endocrine disruptors. They interfere with the hormone system of the body and young people are more susceptible to their effects. This can cause problems with fertility and affect the immune system amongst other things.
There is much more to say about the environmental effects but these are easily found by anyone who cares to look.
Please, Please, watch the video below and ask some questions of planners and developers and don’t be palmed off with bland reassurances.
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