The future of Bath’s Rec

Better take your time over your cornflakes this morning B&NES councillors – you have received a lengthy document to read over breakfast from an organisation determined to protect every inch of one of the city’s largest green spaces.

The Friends of the Recreation Ground have emailed every councillor with a letter and a copy of their 19-page formal Representation to the Local Plan update regarding policy SB2 on the grounds of Climate Change, Heritage and Legality.

Here’s what the letter has to say:

The representation is a lengthy read but includes a summary of grounds for this representation notified to a full council meeting in July 2021.

‘The pre-submitted transcript delivered in 3 minutes reads

I am instructed by the Friends of the Recreation Ground, Bath to call for the omission from the Local Plan Partial Update of policy SB2 which provides for the development of the Recreation Ground, and for the deletion of proposed options in its partial update. Policy SB2 is an error for the following three reasons

– no 1. Construction of a major industrial structure at the heart of the World Heritage City is contrary to National and Local conservation policies. Council runs the risk of losing the city’s valued World Heritage status.

– no 2. Development of the recreation ground is contrary to Title and Charity terms which
limited use of the Rec to open space for amateur recreation, in perpetuity. Legal proceedings to overturn this restriction have failed. Further spending of taxpayer’s money on fruitless legal effort, risking the possibility of injunction proceedings, would be irresponsible.

– no 3. Last Monday the Met Office issued its first UK extreme heat warning whilst extensive wildfires burn in the US. Climate change must be at the heart of every decision this Council takes. The UK Climate Change Committee places the highest priority on the preservation of open green space in city centres as absolutely critical in tempering severe heatwaves we will be experiencing in our lifetimes. Infill is eating away at open space in Bath. It would be nothing less than a climate calamity to lose the Recreation Ground as well.

Added to that is a paragraph – from the formal document – which reads as follows:

“In summary, development on the Rec would have a devastatingly negative impact on the Conservation area, the WHS, its skyline and iconic views from within, the setting of nearby historic buildings, loss of local green area, the amenities of local residents and the quality of a built environment for which Bath is recognised.”

As this has been sent to individuals, and not the ruling administration, l will be interested to hear what individual councillors have to say.