Sections 66(1) and 72 of Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 set out statutory duties concerning the conservation of listed buildings and conservation areas respectively.
National policy and guidance on the historic environment are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the associated National Planning Practice Guidance.
B&NES Council have a Core Strategy, Placemaking Plan and Local Plan Partial Update (‘LPPU’ adopted January 2023) which is a planning framework (both strategic and non-strategic) to guide development until 2029.
The Core Strategy (adopted July 2014) at Policy B1(b) (Bath Spatial Strategy) states that:
“b) At the Rec, and subject to the resolution of any unique legal issues and constraints, enable the development of a sporting, cultural and leisure stadium.”
The subsequent Placemaking Plan (July 2017) at Policy SB2 (Central Riverside and Rec) sets out a Vision for the Rec. Policy SB2 splits this area into sub-areas and identifies specific policy requirements under an area entitled “Riverside East (The Rec, including Bath Rugby Club, Bath Sports and Leisure Centre, the Pavilion, and other associated areas)”.
The Recreation Ground is owned and operated by Bath Recreation Ltd, an independent charity.
Bath Recreation Ltd’s purpose is to provide recreation facilities in or near Bath for the benefit of the public; helping to create opportunities for the local community to lead healthy, active and happy lives. Bath Recreation Ltd leases land at the Recreation Ground to its two anchor tenants - Bath Rugby and Bath Sports and Leisure Centre.
The rent paid by Bath Rugby, is an important income stream for Bath Recreation Ltd which enables it to invest in recreation facilities at the Recreation Ground and across Bath such as the Glasshouse playing fields site in Combe Down and Broadmoor Orchard in Weston.
In October 2022 the Supreme Court determined that the 1922 Covenants are not a barrier to redevelopment of the Rec, when it refused an application seeking to appeal the ruling of the Court of Appeal from February 2022.
This allows Bath Rugby to proceed with its planned redevelopment of the Rec.