Bath resident appeals to charity tribunal over plans for recreation ground trust

The Charity Commission decided to approve a scheme to replace the trustee of the Bath Recreation Ground Trust with a board independent of the local council

The Rec
The Rec

A Bath resident has appealed to the charity tribunal against the Charity Commission’s decision to approve a scheme to replace the trustees of the Bath Recreation Ground Trust.

The charity has been involved in a long-running dispute over land it owns near the city centre, part of which is home to Bath Rugby Club.

Jack Sparrow, who has lived in Bath for 30 years, appealed to the tribunal on Monday against a commission scheme to replace the trust’s former trustee, Bath & North East Somerset Council, with an independent board.

Last month the commission said the new trustees would be responsible for resolving a breach of trust that it said took place in 2007, when the trust built a leisure centre on part of its land near the centre of the city and granted a new 75-year lease to Bath Rugby Club, which has used part of the trust's land since 1894.

To resolve the breach, the trust, which exists to provide sporting and recreational opportunities, proposed a trade-off in which the club would continue to use the trust land it uses and be allowed to use another piece of trust land so that it could redevelop the ground.

In return, the club would lease to the trust its former training ground at Lambridge, on the outskirts of the city, which would be used for "a wide range of recreational activities".

A statement issued by the council on behalf of the rec’s four new trustees said they held their first board meeting on 18 July.

Sparrow told Third Sector he had appealed to the tribunal because he thought the commission’s decision to press ahead with the scheme was wrong. He said he thought the scheme would let the new trustees continue to allow the grounds to be used for professional sport rather than for its intended purpose.

"The grounds were left to the people of the city of Bath for their enjoyment as a public space," he said.

Sparrow said he had also he also applied to Bath & North East Somerset Council in November 2012 for the space to be turned into a town green and he was waiting to hear the outcome.   

A spokeswoman for the commission said the regulator had 28 days from the date of submission to respond to Sparrow's appeal but declined to comment further.

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