Posted by sean on March 11, 2020 at 3:49 pm in Bath City with No Comments

March 11th 2020 will forever go down in history as one of the most important dates in the history of Bath City Football Club.

This afternoon, representatives from the club met with the Bath & North East Somerset Planning Committee, to put forward their plans to redevelop the Twerton Park football ground, as well as the neighbouring high street.

Following lengthy negotiations, the planning committee made the decision to reject the proposals put before them.

This is naturally a massive blow for many connected with the football club, not least all the individuals who worked tirelessly, for over two years, planning what looked like a project not just beneficial to fans of Bath City, but residents of Twerton, Bath and beyond.

Today’s meeting was streamed live over the internet, so I was able to hear arguments for and against the redevelopment.

Personally, I want the best for Bath City Football Club and know how important the redevelopment was to its longterm future.

There were aspects of the plans that I did not like – most notably, the use of an artificial football pitch, instead of grass. I am aware that many other supporters shared this particular view.

Despite feeling strongly against football being played on any surface that isn’t grass, I was prepared to accept the major change if it was to allow Bath City to develop competitively.

Many of the other concerns relate to the student accommodation and the impact it would have on the local area.

I do not know if student accommodation was included in the plans as a means of funding the redevelopment. If this was the case, I can see why the decision was made to do so.

If the project could have been executed without catering for an ever-growing student population, I believe that would have been wise.

I am also no hypocrite and know that thousands of Bath citizens are concerned about the number of students in the city. It is no surprise that many residents of Twerton were concerned about introducing more students, right onto their doorstep.

I live in Lower Weston. A delightful area of Bath. I have fields behind my house. How would I feel if a block of student flats were built close to my home? I would be devastated.

I can therefore understand the reasons why there have been worries from those whose homes are in Twerton.

It would be wrong of me to think differently and I am certainly not one of those people with the mentality of “I’m all for it, but not in my back yard!”.

I didn’t want to post my thoughts anywhere before today’s decision had been made, for fear that my views may jeopardise the outcome – despite it being unlikely that anyone would read them.

I am also aware that students were not the only concern raised today and am certainly in no position to say whether or not the plans would have been approved without their controversial inclusion.

As a City fan, I hope and pray that another solution can be found, which will secure Bath City’s future for generations.

Where the club go from here, I do not know. It would certainly be unfair if I was to speculate on what Bath City will do next.

The official Bath City website did publish a statement prior to the redevelopment meeting, including what would happen should the plans be rejected…

Risk Bath City leaving the city and leaving Twerton and the stadium site to an uncertain future, without the positive influences of the Club – there is no guarantee we can try again

To me, this doesn’t sound good news at all, and there could be worrying times ahead at Twerton Park.

Finally, as a City fan, I would like to thank every single person involved in preparing and presenting the redevelopment plans. Thousands of hours of work must have gone into the project and it is a massive shame that an agreement with the planning committee could not be reached.

Hopefully next time, we’ll have some better news.

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