At today's (29th Nov 2012) meeting of the Bath Recreation Ground Trust Board the Trustees endorsed the Charity Commission Draft Scheme for the Rec. The Committee of the Real Friends of the Rec (RFOTR) is delighted that this key milestone has been reached and we are sure that all RFOTR members will feel the same.
The Scheme is a legal order published by the Charity Commission that enables the Rec Trust to move ahead with key new changes on how the Rec is used. The final stage in the process for the implementation of the Scheme is the 28-day period during which responses on the Draft Scheme can be submitted to the Charity Commission. This process starts on November 30th 2012. There is no fixed format for responses, but we understand that the Charity Commission is looking for 'substantive' responses from those who are users or potential users of the Rec. A user can be someone participating in sports and events on the Rec, spectators at sports (e.g. Rugby) or events on the Rec, etc. It is important that as many members of the RFOTR send in responses to the Charity Commission as soon as possible. You can go to the Charity Commission website (www.charitycommission.gov.uk/our_regulatory_activity/compliance_work/schemes/) where you can respond online, and also find information about how to respond in writing.
Clearly members will determine the form of their own responses, but listed below are some of the key points about the Scheme that the Committee of the RFOTR regard as important:
1. The Charity Commission (CC) Scheme resolves two of the long standing discrepancies with the objectives of the Rec Trust: the lease to Bath Rugby as a commercial organisation, and the presence of the Leisure Centre on land that is not an open space. The resolution of these two issues will enable a sound financial future for the Trust, as well as providing a sound future for both the Leisure Centre and Bath Rugby. We see this as extremely important for all users of the Rec, whether they are participating in sports held on the Rec, attendees at Bath Rugby matches, or users of the Leisure Centre. If the Scheme were not implemented and Bath Rugby were to leave the Rec the likelihood is that the Rec Trust would become financially insolvent with a huge negative impact on the users of the Rec.
2. The offer of the Rugby Club to provide its Lambridge Training Ground as compensation for the additional land that it will occupy at the Rec is an excellent arrangement for all parties; the beneficiaries and users of the Rec, the Rec Trust and Bath Rugby. As pointed out in the brochure provided by the Trust (see link below) the amount of land held by the Trust increases by 73%. We would hope that this will increase participation on all land held by the Rec Trust with more sports now able to make use of the additional land held by the Trust.
3. The key points of this Scheme has already received overwhelming public support in the consultation held in June 2011 with 85% of the respondents Strongly Agreeing or Agreeing with the proposal.
4. A key aim of the RFOTR has been to see redevelopment on the Rec that will provide a first-class venue for 'All Sports for All People'. The fact that the CC Scheme enables Bath Rugby to develop a three-sided arena, with a temporary stand on the east-side during the rugby playing season, giving a 17,000-18,000 person capacity is a huge benefit for the citizens of Bath and its environs. Access will be available to this facility during the summer months with the possibility of cricket, other sports, as well as public events such as concerts etc. This should enable a significant increase in the overall usage of the Rec.
5. Bath is a World Heritage City. The CC Scheme at last enables first-class facilities to be developed on the Rec in contrast to the 3rd rate and dilapidated structures that exist today. New facilities on the Rec hosting Premiership Rugby and other sporting events would be visited by, and seen by many across the UK and worldwide. This would provide excellent PR and wonderful promotion for our World Heritage City. Additionally the significant commercial benefit to the City of Bath would be further increased by these sporting events being held in new first-class facilities.
6. The RFOTR Committee is very pleased to see that the Rec Trust has endorsed the CC Scheme, and is fully supportive of the Scheme. We hope that the CC will adopt the Scheme as soon as possible.
More information about the Scheme, including an electronic version of an explanatory booklet, will be available on the Rec Trust website at www.recreationgroundtrust.org.uk. The brochure is an excellent document - do read it!
WE ANCTIPCATE A HIGH LEVEL OF RESPONSE ON THE SCHEME TO THE CC. IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT MEMBERS OF THE RFOTR MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD SO THAT BATH GETS THE FUTURE FOR THE REC THAT IT DESERVES!
You can contact the Executive Committee via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Bath Rugby Inside Out on twitter @BathRugbyINOUT