The Real Friends of the Rec now have 4841 registered members!

Notes From The Recreation Ground Trust AGM PDF Print E-mail
Written by rfotr   
Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00
The first AGM of the newly constituted Bath Recreation Ground Trust (RGT) was held yesterday in the Illustrious Suite on the Recreation Ground - agenda, annual report and supporting documents here. There were c. 50 attendees the majority of whom were regular opponents of the presence of Bath Rugby on the Rec and of future development of an arena on the Rec. Two of the three individuals who brought the appeal against the Charity Commission Scheme for the Rec were present. Members of the RFOTR Committee attended.

The new Chair of the RGT, Liz Bloor, did an excellent job in conducting the meeting especially preventing unhelpful interruptions from the floor. Three points stood out from her annual report:

1. The new Trust needs to operate as an independent body clearly separate from B&NES. This means that the RGT will need to provide its own services and have its own staff rather than using B&NES resources as in the past. The RGT will be appointing a General Manager for the Rec. The RGT plans to be fully independent from reliance on B&NES resources by Mar 2015.

2. The RGT needs to be in a financially sound position for the future, not just in terms of income vs. expenditure but also by having built up an endowment that guarantees the long term viability of the Rec. This means that the RGT needs to maximise all potential sources of income. The decision of the First-Tier Tribunal earlier this year to modify the Charity Commission Scheme so that Bath Rugby are limited to their current footprint plus the space of the temporary East Stand limits the potential future revenue stream for the RGT. Hence the RGT is proceeding with its appeal against the decision of the First-Tier Tribunal. The RGT has concluded that taking on Lambridge as compensation for land occupied by Bath Rugby on the Rec is not in the interests of the RGT, and instead the RGT would seek a capital sum from Bath Rugby. Further steps on this point are dependent on the outcome of the appeal against the First-Tier Tribunal decision.

3. Whilst a lot of time and attention of the RGT is being taken up with the issues around Bath Rugby's presence on the Rec, the RGT plans to focus on other areas and the overall long term plans for the Rec. Facilities on the Rec need to be improved especially the old pavilion and changing facilities for outdoor activities need to be provided. The Rec should also become a location for a range of cultural and community events including those events targeted at sport and outdoor activities for schoolchildren. Communications with users, neighbours, and other key stakeholders need to be improved. The goal is that the RGT becomes a highly effective small independent charity.
Recreation Ground Trust Update PDF Print E-mail
Written by editor   
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 12:55

The Bath Recreation Ground Trust (RGT) has published a public notice regarding a new five year lease with Bath Rugby.
This agreement provides the Rugby Club with a lease for an area of land outside the main footprint on which the East Stand is erected each year (see here for plan). It also provides the RGT with a secure income stream for five years to invest in amateur sport and charitable activities at the Rec. This lease is in line with decision of the Charity Tribunal earlier this year. It covers less area than the original Scheme for the Recreation Ground that had been proposed by the Charity Commission and agreed by the RGT. We are still waiting to hear if the RGT has decided to proceed with its appeal against the Charity Tribunal decision that modifies the Charity Commission Scheme.

The Public Notice is inviting comments before the end of a 28 day consultation period. If you wish to provide comments click here to find out how.

The RGT is holding its AGM which is open to the public on Wednesday 13 August, 2014, at 5pm in the Illustrious Suite at the Recreation Ground. The agenda for the meeting and the Annual Report are available on the RGT website. We expect to hear more about the status of an appeal by the RGT against the Charity Tribunal decision. RFOTR members are urged to attend.

Temporary Planning Application Approved PDF Print E-mail
Written by editor   
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 20:35
The Committee of the Real Friends of the Rec is delighted and relieved that  the B&NES Planning Committee have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the 2 year Temporary Planning Application by Bath Rugby (see here for details)

The support shown so convincingly by the Council for the Rugby Club and its exciting plans for its 150th Anniversary in 2015 is hugely important for what now needs to be addressed for the future.

Continued support is now needed to progress for full plans for the new Arena (perhaps with an International design competition) that will contribute to the long neglected River Front becoming a contributor to the enhancement of our World Heritage City.

This long overdue improvement, with the cooperation of the reconstituted Rec Trust will enable Bath Rugby to become the best Rugby Club in the Northern Hemisphere, but, more importantly provide the added income to the Trust to increase recreation and Amateur sport for Trust's beneficiaries.

RFOTR Committee Meeting With Rec Trustees PDF Print E-mail
Written by editor   
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 15:57

The RFOTR committee have now had an interesting and informative meeting with members of the new Recreation Ground Trust committee, including their new chair Liz Bloor.

We understand that the Rec Trust have now lodged their right to Appeal against certain items contained within the Charity Tribunal decision. However, they are now awaiting a full financial assessment and indication of potential outcomes, before they finally decide later in the year whether or not to proceed with the Appeal.

This has time implications, as the Trust are also in the latter stages of discussions with Bath Rugby regarding their Heads of Terms (Agreement) which will outline the clubs future relationship with the Trust on both practical and financial grounds. As with most discussions, these have been robust and are taking time to get right, and there are various shades of opinion amongst the Rec trustees.  Liz Bloor assured us that the Trust is committed to getting to the right decision for the Recreation Ground as a whole, and all the groups who either currently, or may in the future, wish to use the Rec.

Liz Bloor concluded that she looked  “…forward to developing a useful working relationship between the Trust and the RFOTR….”

We would like to thank all RFOTR members who sent emails and letters to Liz in support of an Appeal.

Further Rec Developments & Bath Rugby Planning Application PDF Print E-mail
Written by editor   
Thursday, 22 May 2014 00:00
Bath Rugby has now submitted the planning application for the additional temporary structures at the Rec outlined in our last email. This application is for a 2-year period and will take the capacity at the Rec to 14,000. It will be in place for the 150 year celebrations to be held during 2015.

We would urge RFOTR members who live within BA postcodes to submit their comments on this planning application. The planning application can be found on the B&NES website here. There is a link near the top of the page that you can follow to make comments. Under the 'Documents' tab, and then under 'Associated Documents' you can find the set of documents submitted as part of the application that include drawings of the new temporary structures. The deadline for submitting comments is 12/6/2014.

As also reported in our last email the Rec Trust was seeking leave to appeal the decision of the Charity Tribunal that would effectively restrict Bath Rugby to carrying out any new development within their existing footprint only, including the temporary East Stand. The Rec Trust has been given leave to appeal certain items within the Charity Tribunal decision, and has until June 11th to decide whether or not to go forward with an appeal. This article in today's Bath Chronicle has more information.
Charity Tribunal Decision PDF Print E-mail
Written by rfotr   
Friday, 28 March 2014 17:54

Yesterday the Charity Tribunal released its decision on the appeals against the Charity Commission’s proposed Scheme for the Rec (see here for full text). The Scheme has been amended with 3 key points being:

  • Only one B&NES Councillor on the Recreation Ground Trust Board who cannot be Chair.
  • No longer a separate Trust for the Rec and the Leisure Centre. The two Trusts to be combined immediately.
  • The Rugby Club can have no extra land beyond what is currently used for the East Stand. A compensating land swap with the Lambridge Training Ground or some other arrangement should be decided by the new Recreation Ground Trust Board.
Summary of Charity Tribunal Hearing PDF Print E-mail
Written by rfotr   
Saturday, 18 January 2014 17:20

The Charity Tribunal regarding the appeal against the Charity Commission Scheme for the Rec was held at Bath Magistrates' Court on Mon Jan 13th, Tues Jan 14th and Thurs Jan 16th. The objectors (aka the Appellants) were Nigel Websper (Chair of the Pulteney Estates Residents Association), Jack Sparrow (who submitted an unsuccessful application to have the Rec registered as a Town/Village Green) and Rosemary Carne. The Respondents were the Charity Commission (CC) and the Recreation Ground Trust. RFOTR Committee members attended throughout the hearing and this is our summary and understanding of the proceedings reported to the best of our abilities.

Developments Following the Charity Tribunal Decision PDF Print E-mail
Written by editor   
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 00:00

Following on from the recent decision by the Charity Tribunal there have been a number of developments about which we wish to make RFOTR members aware.

Firstly the newly reconstituted Recreation Ground Trust has decided to apply for leave to appeal the Charity Tribunal Decision which artificially limits the discretion of the Trust about future use of Rec land. Liz Bloor, newly elected Chair of the Rec Trust, said, “After thorough discussion by the Trustees, it is really clear that we are all disappointed with this decision by the Tribunal. It is financially unhelpful to the Trust and we believe there are some errors in the law which the Tribunal have applied.

Notes from Rec Briefing by Nick Blofeld PDF Print E-mail
Written by editor   
Friday, 28 February 2014 16:56

Last night (Weds 26th February) the RFOTR hosted a briefing on the Rec given by Nick Blofeld, Chief Executive Bath Rugby, on the plans for a new arena on the Rec. It was an excellent evening attended by c. 70 RFOTR members and Nick gave members a lot of detail about the background to the new arena, the design itself, and the plans for construction. Nick fielded many questions during and after his presentation. Our many thanks to Nick for his time and a great presentation. The summary below tries to convey the essence of Nick’s presentation and the Q&As.

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