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Latest stadium development set to save Bath £1m despite opposition

By Chris Jones
The Rec/ PA

Beaten Gallagher Premiership finalists Bath have come away victorious from a significant off-the-field battle that will save £1m despite angering some local people.

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Bath, beaten 25-21 in the final by Northampton Saints at Twickenham, are in the process of completing a long-running campaign to build an 18,000 new stadium in the centre of one of Britain’s most attractive city centre locations and winning over public support has been a key factor in gaining council backing.

Now, they have been given permission to leave in place their large East Stand which normally comes down in the summer to restore the area for locals.

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Damian de Allende talks about the plaudits heaped on him by his teammates

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Damian de Allende talks about the plaudits heaped on him by his teammates

The local council has given the green light to keep it up all summer. This will save Bath an estimated £1m, which is the cost of taking down and erecting the structure each year. Councillors on the planning committee voted to allow the stand to stay up through the summer.

Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council’s planning committee, Ian Halsall (Oldfield Park, Liberal Democrat), told SomersetLive: “It just seems bonkers to be taking down a stand to reassemble it just for a few weeks.”

The decision did not please everyone, with Eleanor Jackson (Westfield, Labour) stating: “Is it not the case that what the applicant is really after is saving money? It’s not a question of low carbon or reducing carbon footprint. If this stand remains up, they will not have to pay the people who dismantle it.”

Having to keep the stand up to play their Premiership semi-final against Sale Sharks at the Recreation Ground on June 1 meant that the East Stand would only have been removed for nine to ten weeks before it needed to be returned for the new season — and three weeks of that on each end would be spent taking it down and putting it back up.

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The council meeting had been informed that 52 people had lodged objections to the proposal to keep the “ugly” stand up through the summer, with just four people lodging messages in support of the club’s proposal.

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