Bath Rugby owner Bruce Craig claims that the club’s new redeveloped stadium will be “world-class” and “well worth waiting for” and could open by 2015.
The club is confident it can overcome the complex legal hurdles of upgrading its cramped and outdated 18,000 capacity ground at The Rec in the centre of the historic city.
Owner Bruce Craig told the Bath Chronicle: “The current rugby ground, especially the West Stand by the river, does not do justice to the city or the rugby club and we are really keen to improve it for everyone. We want to provide a world-class facility and buildings that the city and club can be proud of, are appropriate and add to the beauty and splendour of Bath.
“It is a tough challenge but it is critical that we get it right,” he added. “What we do needs to complement this unique and historic setting, and is for everyone in Bath, both now and for future generations.”
Bath Rugby are proposing a lease swap deal that will see the club’s one-time training ground at Lambridge come under public ownership in return for a larger slice of The Rec so their stadium plans can be realised. However due to the unique charitable status of The Rec, the Charity Commission will need to make a ruling on the offer in April.
If the offer is accepted, there could be more hurdles to overcome. Bath will have to fend off a challenge to make The Rec to be declared an official town green which could delay any planning application. And to make matters worse, there is a 1922 deed covenant covering The Rec, setting out restrictions on development.
However Bath Rugby’s legal advisers are confident these stipulations are no longer legally enforceable, but the club will need to get a High Court ruling to this effect.
Posted on 22/02/2013