Bath’s local Green Party has slammed Bath Rugby’s plans for a stadium in the heart of the city, warning it will “cause misery for residents across the city.”

In September, the rugby club submitted their long-awaited plans to build an 18,000-seat “Stadium for Bath” on the Recreation Ground. Over 1,000 people had lodged comments in support by the time the consultation closed at the weekend, compared to just 85 people submitting objections.

Among the voices opposed to the development are the three Green councillors on Bath and North East Somerset Council. Saskia Heijltjes, who was Bath’s “bicycle mayor” before being elected as a councillor in May, said the plans were “car-centric.”

She said: “Transport plans for this application are not sufficient and could result in thousands of new car journeys into a UNESCO world heritage city for every game, at a time when we have to significantly reduce car miles if we are to meet the council’s own climate targets. There are hardly any improvements in the plans for walking and cycling or the use of the Park & Ride.

“The application is woefully poor in its transport obligations and appears to be car-centric. The additional use of the stadium beyond rugby will cause misery for residents across the city and this clearly needs to be rethought and significantly changed.”

Meanwhile Joanna Wright, who leads the Green group on the council, said: “Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this proposed development imposes a massive stadium which will impact important views from the city of Bath and also the centre of the city from the east. People come to Bath for the views, and this new stadium will directly affect how we all see the city of Bath.

“It is clearly over-development in the heart of the city.”

The Green’s other councillor, Sam Ross, added: “The stadium will be an exclusive and privately controlled recreational space with no benefit to residents, local businesses, or the city. The retained space would be severely compromised in terms of the sporting activities which it could and should be accommodating.”

Based at the Recreation Ground, Bath Rugby currently spends about a million pounds a year on temporary stands they have to assemble and disassemble. The club’s CEO Tarquin McDonald said, as the plans were submitted: “If we were not able to redevelop it, it calls into question our ability to stay here long term. […] That would be tragic for the city and the club.”

The club say that the stadium will have a “contemporary and sensitive design” and that the new hybrid pitch will increase community and amateur use. A traffic assessment also submitted stated that the increase in traffic on a match day would be “negligible”

The chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council’s planning committee has called for the decision on whether to grant planning permission for the stadium to be decided by them in a public meeting, although no date has yet been publicly set.

You can view the planning application here, although comments have now closed.

LDRS, John Wimperis