Bath Recreation Ground appeals to go before charity tribunal

Three people are disputing the Charity Commission's decision to approve a scheme that will replace the trustees of the Bath Recreation Ground Trust next year

Bath Rugby Club
Bath Rugby Club

The charity tribunal will hear three appeals against the Charity Commission’s decision to approve a scheme that will replace the trustees of Bath Recreation Ground in January next year.

At a charity tribunal directions hearing this month, three people – Jack Sparrow, Rosemary Carne and Nigel Websper – who have each brought separate cases, were granted a joint hearing at the tribunal next year.

They are appealing against the 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.

Under the commission’s scheme, Bath Recreation Ground’s new trustees will be responsible for resolving a breach of trust that the commission 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".

Sparrow told Third Sector that he disputed whether the lease that Bath Rugby Club held for part of the recreation ground was legal. But he said that tribunal judge Peter Hinchcliffe warned at the directions hearing that he would be unable to decide whether or not the lease was legal.

"All he can do is amend, squash or do something with the commission’s scheme," said Sparrow.

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