Council’s concerns over East Stand

B&NES has issued a statement saying it is considering its next move in response to Bath Rugby Club’s announcement that because of ‘circumstances beyond our control’ it cannot remove the East Stand of the Recreation Ground for the summer period.

The club said it knew it had breached one of the planning conditions for their ground – as regulations state the stand must be taken down each summer.

In a statement the club said:

‘The condition states that in the three weeks following the final fixture at the Rec, the stands must be removed, and that the reconstruction must not commence more than four weeks before the first home game of the new season.

Arena Group, the company that owns and leases the east stand structure to the club, has issued an official notice to Bath Rugby informing of an impending breach of contract.

The notice confirms that it has been impossible to plan, schedule, recruit, and train staff throughout the pandemic causing an extreme shortage of specialist construction teams. As a result, Arena Group’s operational capacity is severely limited meaning the east stand can no longer be dismantled and re-erected safely this summer.”

The club said it had shared concerns with the council – over the removal of the stand – earlier this year. One such concern noted the availability of contractors following a year of crisis for the construction industry.

‘Unfortunately, these concerns have now become a very real reality through circumstances beyond the club’s and Arena Group’s control.

“In their communication with the club, Arena Group went on to state that the health and safety of their staff and clients is paramount.

Furthermore, due to the complex nature of the east stand structure, Arena Group are unable to subcontract this work, always requiring full quotas of experienced crews and approved staff to guarantee a safe working environment.”

Meanwhile, in a statement issued today the council said:

‘Bath & North East Somerset Council is aware that Bath Rugby Club has issued a statement saying that it will not be removing the East Stand over the summer. This would be a clear breach of a planning condition.

The council expects all parties, including Bath Rugby Club, to honour the planning commitments they have entered into. The council is very concerned by the club’s approach and is currently  considering next steps in response.’

1 Comment

  1. David Greenwood sent me an email with the following comments:

    “You may recall that I wrote to you a few weeks ago about what I considered to be one-sided journalism regarding Bath Rugby and I felt that you did reflect on this.

    So before you rush to put pen to paper and lament on the misfortunes of Bath Rugby and Arena 1865 and their inability to dismantle the East stand for a three-month period despite a legal obligation to do so.
    The present planning permission clearly states that the stand must be removed, the area reseeded and restored in order to allow the Recreation Ground to be used for recreation purposes throughout the summer period.

    The East stand is a temporary structure and only has temporary planning permission. The Club, seconded by Bath Recreation Limited put in a planning application for it to remain over this summer period. The application received a large number of comments that this permission should be refused and the Club then withdrew the application. The decision to leave it in place was anticipated as B&NES is highly unlikely to insist that it be removed. How is it that the Planning Permissions are vigorously enforced for some and yet ignored for Bath Rugby.

    Needless to say that whilst Bath Rugby express “regret” that the stand cannot be dismantled they will save at least £400,000. Perhaps this will be donated to Bath Recreation Limited to further their charitable aims.”

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