Plans for a new Bath Rugby stadium development at the Rec are one step closer to becoming a reality as the long-running saga takes another twist.
The Charity Commission has agreed in principle to the plans for a land-swap deal, which would allow the club to expand its presence on the city centre site in exchange for its training ground at Lambridge effectively becoming publicly owned.
The next stage of the process is for the Recreation Ground Trust – three councillors who oversee the land – to compile a more detailed scheme of what they want to do with the site.
There will then be a statutory public consultation on the proposal in the autumn, before the Charity Commission gives the final verdict.
Councillor David Dixon, chair of the trustees, said they were cautiously optimistic that they had made real progress on what had been a long and complicated issue.
He said: “After ten years we really do have a definite way forward which the Charity Commission is happy with, subject to the consultation. Hopefully there is some light at the end of the tunnel to resolve all this and find a workable way forward.”
The new consultation will be more detailed than the one carried out last year, which saw an overwhelming majority (86 per cent) supporting the land-swap arrangement which would allow Bath Rugby to expand.
It is understood that if the next stage of the process goes to plan, then the club could be looking to submit a planning application to Bath and North East Somerset Council during the first quarter of next year.
Mr Dixon said people should now wait for the consultation to be launched, which will hopefully happen in October, and make sure they took that opportunity to have their views heard.
He said: “We want members of the public to contribute.”