Charity Commission to consult public over Bath Recreation Ground Trust plans

The trust has applied to change its objects to legitimise the building of a leisure centre on its land and to allow it to conduct a land swap

Bath Recreation Ground Trust wants to use the former training ground of Bath Rugby Club, pictured
Bath Recreation Ground Trust wants to use the former training ground of Bath Rugby Club, pictured

The Charity Commission is to launch a public consultation on a proposal that the Bath Recreation Ground Trust be allowed to change its objects to include indoor sporting activities and to exchange part of its land.

The trust wants to trade space near the centre of Bath for Bath Rugby Club’s former training ground at Lambridge, on the city’s outskirts.

The trust, which is managed by Bath and North East Somerset Council, was ruled by the High Court in 2002 to have committed a "breach of trust" by allowing a leisure centre to be built on charitable land meant to be kept as open space for sport and recreation.

The court also ruled that the trust’s decision to lease part of its land to the adjoining Bath Rugby Club was not lawful because the club was a commercial organisation.

The trust applied to the commission last year to change its charitable objects to include indoor sporting activities and to allow it to exchange part of its land.

If approved, the change in objects would legitimise the leisure centre, allow the trust to give the club a larger portion of its land so it could expand and dedicate the Lambridge site to its original objects of public sport and recreation.

A spokeswoman for the commission said: "We are in the process of drafting a scheme that updates the charity’s objects and powers. The scheme will be published for a statutory period of one month both locally and on the commission website.

"The purpose of the publication period is to give members of the public one month to make representations in respect of the scheme. The publication dates have yet to be agreed.

"It is important to note that a scheme does not authorise a specific transaction but provides the administrative powers to enter transactions. Charity trustees must ensure – in exercising the power ­– that they act in accordance with their duties."

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