By Harry Mottram: It’s the story that’s set public opinion alight this summer amongst those with a passion for the city’s architectural future and those who follow the rugby club. How will the rugby stadium on the Rec look in the future is the the question. Bath Rugby Club – wants to move the stadium on from the old layout that is not fit for the purpose of staging the sport in the 21st century since Bath is a top flight international team competing at the highest level. But the response to their plans has not been heralded in the way they may have hoped. Adequate, workman like and just about OK would best sum up some of the thoughts for its support.
But the debate over the plans have been thrown wide open by the well presented and ambitious colosseum concept (but un-costed plans) presented by the London based architectural practice Apollodorus Architecture.
The two schemes could not be more different – which is why there is now such a debate. Bath Rugby have posted this statement on their website: “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.’”
A done deal? Well perhaps not just yet with local residents, friends of the Rec who wish to keep the green space a public arena and purists hoping to ensure the new plans are not seen as a missed opportunity and do a Hilton Hotel design – one regretted for years to come by many Bathonians as not fitting into the skyscape of the city.
If money was no object then it is likely the colosseum design with its changes to a redeveloped leisure centre would likely to be seen as favourite – but cash is limited and Bath Voice has previously noted the huge costs of upgrading stadiums or even rebuilding them from scratch. In the meantime the planners will be giving the plans their attention while many fans in the city will continue to back the idea that this is a critical moment in the history of the Rec and the critique put forward by Apollodorus Architecture should at least be considered.
Letters by email to the editor of Bath Voice Harry Mottram at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on the colosseum plans see https://www.apollodorus.uk/project-bath-arena-landing
For more on the club’s plans see https://www.bathrugby.com/stadium-for-bath/
See also https://bathvoice.co.uk/2023/07/31/bath-voice-prestigious-architect-offers-a-very-different-design-for-the-proposed-new-bath-rugby-stadium-slamming-the-clubs-ideas-as-lowering-the-tone-of-the-whole-area-and-believing-bath-can-do/