BATH RUGBY PLANS GROUND EXPANSION

Bath Rugby Club has announced a new proposal to increase the capacity at their home in the centre of the city.

The Aviva Premiership side hopes to push capacity to 17,000 but due to the ground’s position next to the river in the city centre space is at a premium. The club hopes to move The Recreation Ground 40 metres to allow room to redevelop the stand along the riverside.

But the plan hinges on a land swap deal that will see the club give an area of the training ground at Lambridge to the city.

Nick Blofeld, the Bath Rugby chief executive, said: "Lambridge works better than the previous suggestion of Firs Field. I think a lot of people in the city are big supporters of ours and what we plan to do is a minor improvement and increase in the scale of the stadium without disrupting the city too much."

The Recreation Ground Trust has begun an eight-week public consultation on the plans, which if given the green light will be referred to the Charity Commission. If successful it will then go before the local council for final approval.

"These are exciting times. This will, once and for all, decide whether we can stay at our historic home and occupy more space for the development of a slightly bigger, but significantly better stadium," Blofeld added.

Bath’s previous plans to redevelop the ground were turned down by the Charity Commission in 2009. It said at the time there were not sufficient benefits to the charity, but that it was open to accepting a revised proposal.

Posted on 14/04/2011