I would like to submit my objection to the development of a permanent rugby stadium on the Rec.
Bath is famous the world over for the beauty of its historic architecture, the cohesiveness of its town planning and the picturesque setting in the bowl of a green valley. All these are attributes recognized in the unique designation of the entire city as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is incumbent on the Council to safeguard this status, and preserve and enhance the city’s heritage for future generations.
1) Out-of-keeping design that harmful to sensitive heritage context
The images supplied by the Applicant, as well as their Environmental Impact Assessment, show that the proposed development would have a hugely detrimental impact on its immediate surroundings and the city’s heritage status more generally. The architecture is of poor quality, which is completely out of character for this sensitive location at the heart of the historic city. The banal and utilitarian design of the West Stand would dominate views of the river from Grand Parade and Parade Gardens and, due to the increase in height with respect to the current stands, it would obscure views of the hills beyond. Around the other side, the design of proposed East Stand demonstrates even greater disregard for the highly sensitive context. The architecture proposed here seems better suited to an industrial, out-of-town location, not the centre of a historic city.
2) Poor connectivity and permeability
The proposed scheme offers few and poor connections with the rest of the city. Problems of access will be exacerbated by the projected increase in capacity and footfall. Moreover, the design blocks routes from the riverbank to the open part of the Rec. Indeed, all the problems associated with the current temporary stadium and its awkward relation to the leisure centre would be made permanent. In this way, the scheme disadvantages any future redevelopment of the leisure centre.
3) Loss of valuable amenity
The enlarged stadium would result in the reduction of usable outfield playing space in the remaining area of the Rec by over a fifth, while providing no suitable replacement or other benefits. Moreover, the quality of the environment in this left-over area would be reduced dramatically on account of the overbearing and oppressive design of the proposed East Stand.
4) Questions about future viability
There are limited possibilities for other uses apart from Rugby. But there are question marks over the sport as a whole due to future health considerations of players, and over the finances of the club too. There is a risk that a permanent stadium could become underused, not maintained well or even be abandoned.
In light of these arguments, which are based on several policies contained in the National Planning Policy Framework as well as Bath’s own Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, the council must reject the application.
TEMPLATE LETTER OF OBJECTION
For convenience we have prepared a template objection letter which brings up several of the critical points made on the previous page. We encourage you to use, expand and adapt this material when making your own objection: