Stadium for Bath

Stadium for Bath is about delivering a new home for Bath Rugby, regenerating the riverside in the heart of Bath, and the creation of wider sporting and community benefits - building a special place that everyone can enjoy, a beacon in the heart of the city. 

The following pages will give you great insight into the robust journey that the project team have been on over the years, and share with you the resulting proposed design.

A design we believe has heard from Bath residents, local neighbours, agencies and supporters; and speaks to the changing needs of the club, our city and our community. 

We have created an iconic, yet sensitive design that will deliver an incredible matchday experience.

But more than that, our proposed design will be a year round civic venue, in service to the city, alongside a redeveloped, more open and well maintained riverside for all to enjoy. 

We have included a lot of detail, you may want to dive deeply into it, or you may just want the headlines - whatever you need from our public consultation we hope you find what you are looking for.

Development Brief - July 2023

The final version of the Development Brief has now been formally submitted to Bath & North East Somerset Council.

This Development Brief was initially issued for public consultation for a 3 week period between 11th April 2018 and 2nd May 2018.

A ‘Final Draft for Consultation’ was subsequently consulted upon in June 2023. Comments received have been considered and the document amended as appropriate.

The Council have confirmed that the process and public consultation is “considered to fulfil the public engagement aspects of requirements set out in Policy SB2.”

View Development Brief here


Thank you for your feedback on our plans to redevelop The Rec.

We are now collating feedback given in public consultations and via this page. They will all become a part of our planning application.

The next opportunity to comment on our plans will be after our submission to B&NES via the council website and we will post a link here when one becomes available. 


What You Told Us

How We Have Listened

Club History And Its Future

Vision & Objectives

Design Journey: Heritage And Historical Context

Design Journey: City Context And Siting Of Stadium

Design Journey: Façade Treatment & Roof

Public Realm, Riverside & Trees

A New Home For Bath Rugby And A New Civic Venue

Key Design Considerations: Heights, Views, Transport And Access

Key Design Considerations: Flood, Ecology, Lighting And Noise

Public And Socio-Economic Benefits

Sustainability And Construction

External Views

Frequently Asked Questions

Legal and Ownership

Who owns The Rec?

The Recreation Ground (The Rec) is not owned by the public. The land is owned and operated by Bath Recreation Ltd. Their authority as landlord was clarified by a charity tribunal hearing in 2016. As landlord they have the ability to lease the land to third parties as they deem appropriate.

Bath Recreation Ltd is owned by an independent charity. The purpose of the charity is the provision of property in or near Bath for use as outdoor recreation facilities for the benefit of the public. The charity's primary tenants (Bath Leisure Centre and Bath Rugby) provide income which enables the charity to invest in the furtherance of its charitable purpose.

Will Bath Rugby be allowed to use more land at The Rec for redevelopment?

The area currently occupied by Bath Rugby is in accordance with the existing leases. The ruling of the Charity First-Tier Tribunal in December 2016 regarding the Recreation Ground finally provided clarity over the site. Following this decision the powers of Bath Recreation Ltd have been clarified, including its ability to lease the club additional land for redevelopment. It is anticipated that a new lease would be negotiated with Bath Recreation Ltd as designs are developed.

What does the Supreme Court Decision mean for the development of the Rec? [1922 Covenants]

In October 2022, the Supreme Court refused an application seeking to appeal the ruling of the Court of Appeal from February 2022, allowing Bath Rugby to proceed with its planned redevelopment of its facilities at The Rec. This brings to an end the long-running legal case relating to the 1922 covenants and paves the way for Bath Rugby to bring forward proposals for a new stadium.

How much of an increase is this from your current footprint at The Rec?

The additional land we hope to lease is circa 5,000sqm, or about 20% more than our existing footprint. However, our plans include a move of the stadium across The Rec to the East, which will allow for larger and better maintained public space on the riverside for people to enjoy.

Can I still access The Rec?

Yes. The Recreation Ground will remain open for members of the public to enjoy.

Planning Process & Timescales

Why is this being proposed now?

We had to pause our previous plans due to the global pandemic, however the club remains committed to the redevelopment at The Rec, in terms of providing world-class facilities for Bath Rugby, but also in terms of providing wider benefits to the city through riverside regeneration, enhanced sporting participation and community use.

When is the redevelopment/new stadium build due to start?

This depends on the planning process. The club’s ambition is to submit the planning application to Bath and North East Somerset Council in the summer of 2023, and for construction to begin in Q2 2024.

How long will this all take to design and then build?

The timing of specific stages will be confirmed and determined in due course.

How does the planning process work?

We will be following Bath and North East Somerset Council’s planning process. Bath Rugby will submit an application to the Council in 2023 who will determine whether the scheme should go ahead.

Design & Build

What will the new stadium look like?

This page will be updated on the 6 May with our proposed designs following the public consultations.

Will you be building a permanent structure?

Our aim is to build a permanent structure to allow us to provide world class facilities not just for Bath Rugby but for the wider community.

Will there be an archaeological survey of the Rec before you start digging?

Yes, this was undertaken in 2018 in accordance with a Written Scheme of Investigation approved by B&NES. No significant archaeological evidence was found.

Will the East Stand remain temporary?

No, the planning application will include a permanent East stand.

What will the capacity be?

The club’s aspiration is for a Stadium with capacity of up to 18,000.

What ecology/sustainability measures will be included in the new stadium?

Building fabric will be highly insulated, and we plan to use air source heat pumps (not gas boilers). Similarly we look to use roof mounted solar photovoltaic panels, re-cycled materials where appropriate (e.g. structural steel), and we are exploring the use of structural stone and timber to reduce embodied carbon. We will be re-using/re-purposing the existing South stand, retaining trees along the riverside, enhancing biodiverse planting along the riverside flood defence bund and improving biodiverse planting on the fringes of the outfield of The Rec which will improve the insect habitat, as well as the environment for local birds and bat residents.

Will there be improved Wi-Fi?


Are you proposing the “Colosseum” design which has recently been seen in some media?

No. The images are not being proposed by Bath Rugby for The Rec. The visuals are something that have been produced speculatively by a London architect. It is nothing to do with the proposed plans from Bath Rugby and our project team.

New Facilities

What extra facilities will there be?

There will be better concourses for circulation and more toilets (with hot water), more and improved food and beverage facilities; plus, conferencing and banqueting facilities in the West stand. The stadium will also include offices and class rooms for the Bath Rugby Foundation.

Will there be new retail units within the stadium?

We hope to have a club retail shop and ticket office within the stadium as well as a museum incorporating a stadium tour and a riverside cafe.


Will you improve the riverside?

Riverside regeneration is one of the clear benefits the redevelopment will deliver. Additional space along the riverside will be created by moving the Stadium further into The Rec and removing the existing clubhouse; improved biodiverse planting, seating and lighting in this area will also be of benefit to the general public and the animal populations around the river.

Does the Environment Agency support the proposals for the riverside?

The Environment Agency’s main concern is that the functional flood plain volumes of the site are maintained. We are working with the EA to ensure this is achieved – this means that the way the floodplain floods may change but that its capability to wont change and the capacity of water that it can hold will not change either.

What’s happening with the radial gate?

This is outside of the project scope but we continue to engage with both the Environmental Agency and BANES with regards to the future of the radial gate.

What will happen to all of the trees along the riverside?

Our plan is to retain them. By moving the stadium further into the Rec this will actually allow the existing trees to flourish.

The river is an important bat corridor. How will you mitigate any impact on them?

We plan to mitigate negative impact on the bats by maintaining the trees, enhanced biodiverse planting of the flood protection bund, improving insect habitat, careful lighting designs to control light spill onto the river corridor.

Access and Transport

How will pedestrian access to the Rec be improved?

There is existing capacity in the pedestrian network to the stadium. Moving the stadium into The Rec provides better access along the riverside. We are also exploring improvements to the access from North Parade and how we may improve usage of, and direction to, Spring Gardens Road (the tunnel under Argyle Street).

Can the club confirm there is no car park within the Stadium development plans?

Confirmed – our plans do not include additional parking and certainly not under the stadium.

Will the club have a detailed transport strategy for the new Stadium?

There is an existing travel plan for the stadium which will be developed as part of the new stadium designs. Emphasis will be placed on moving away from car travel into the city centre in favour of more use of public transport, cycling, park and ride and walking. Improved cycle storage facilities will be included in the designs and we are engaging with First (Bus) and GWR(rail) to improve public transport on matchdays.

Having your say

When can I comment on the planning application?

From the 6 May we will be asking for your feedback on the plans via this page.

Once a planning application is registered with Bath and North East Somerset Council you will be able to leave your comments via their Planning Portal website.

Supporter Questions

How many premium seats and boxes will there be?

There will be 1,470 hospitality seats across a range of boxes, lounges and banqueting. Exact configuration is being developed.

Will there still be a standing area?

Yes, in North stand, similar to as it is now and we are exploring standing at the front of the East stand.

How will access to The Rec be improved on match days?

See Access and Transport answers above.


What happened to the old plans?

With the global pandemic we paused our previous proposals. The work undertaken has been extremely valuable as has the public feedback received which has all contributed to our revised scheme.

Where will Bath Rugby play during the redevelopment?

We plan to build the stadium in phases, stand by stand to allow Bath Rugby to continue to play at The Rec. As much of the construction of the stands seating area as possible will be undertaken in the off season to limit impacts on overall capacity.

What will the club do to mitigate noise and other disruption during construction?

If we gain planning consent for the new scheme Stadium for Bath will sign up to the Considerate Contractors Scheme, and will endeavour to go over and above what is expected of us and our contractors. Communication will local residents will be key throughout the process and we look forward to engaging with them when we reach this stage of the project.

Will there be any impact on the existing pavilion on The Rec?

No. The pavilion will remain.

Would Bath lose its world heritage status if a new stadium was built on The Rec?

Stadium for Bath will not submit any designs for planning approval that are detrimental to Bath’s World Heritage status. World Heritage has been at the heart of the design considerations from the outset. We are working closely with B&NES Heritage Officers and Historic England (advisors to UNESCO) throughout the entire design process and will continue to do so.

Who have you appointed as architects?

Kay Elliott.

What are the club proposing for the playing surface for the new Stadium?

A hybrid grass surface such as Desso Grassmaster. This is a predominantly grass playing surface with plastic fibres stitched into the root zone for the grass roots to bind to creating a much more stable and hard wearing surface than compared to just grass. This will enable the pitch to be used for more than just first team rugby. In consultation with our internal Rugby department and the players this is a very popular choice for play as well as being environmentally friendly.

Will you be selling naming rights?

It is far too early to say at this stage for sure, but it is something we will consider especially if the naming rights will help us to create an exceptional stadium in the heart of Bath, and to deliver all the other benefits we hope the stadium can bring, not least riverside regeneration and enhanced sporting participation.