Redevelopment Consultation Thursday 21st February 7.30pm

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Post by Marc Monitor on Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:10 pm

Thanks for that, Jon. I have got to say that I was surprised by your mention of a 'lego stand' in your original post as I thought it looked good - and I have visited a fair amount of identikit meccano grounds. I am glad to see that you like the design. I am broadly pleased with the stand and, like you, would probably change bits and pieces perhaps but I think everyone would say that.

As far as the Bath End is concerned, I am glad that everyone got to make their opinions known. Did the architects have any suggestions about whether we could have a terrace there? My issue is that, with most of the consultation meetings, about 30-40 people turn up out of over 500+ supporters/members and often it is the same people over and again. These latest ones especially were being talked about as the ones where any levelling of the Bath End were being discussed/debated. Now, I am not sure how many Wednesday's meeting attracted and obviously there is tomorrow's as well (although they are slightly different to consultations) and whether there has been a lot of private emails or general other correspondence but it wasn't significantly better attended than any others. That is not to say that any concerns or suggestions won't be taken on board, I am sure they will.

By the way, I am sure that Michael mentioned it last night but you can still contact the Supporters Society committee with any correspondence about the redevelopment at bathcitysocietycommittee@gmail.com and I suggest anyone who has any outstanding queries do that.
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Post by Dodgycarpet on Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:16 pm

Woops I meant "loss" of 40 car park spaces not "kids" damn autocorrect! Goodness knows how that happened. Probably in the same way the loss of the bath end got missed off the original plans ! ;-)

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Post by stillmanjunior on Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:27 pm

I wasn’t really implying that the Bath End should be covered, I just don’t want it turned into something like Dulwich and others where it’s all flat. I could name stacks of examples. Evesham isn’t great.
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Post by tovid on Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:41 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:I am not sure what “we are going to have to compromise what we start season 21-22 with” means.

Genuinely interested to hear all views from tonight

I mean we are totally at the mercy of what Greenacres can generate from the rest of the site and that itself is totally dependent on the planning authority.

As mentioned elsewhere the mood of the meeting was that people want to be able to see from the Bath End and this will necessitate terracing being built at a higher level than it currently is. But even if this is put forward it does not mean it will be part of an approved scheme. Hence the compromise.

Levelling the pitch would have the same effect as putting the current pitch under water. The water would flood across the terraces and the distance it floods will be exactly the amount of terracing lost. So at the corner of the poplar/ bath end if you imagine water 5ft deep on the terrace that is how much will be flat.

It was stated that the stadium capacity will be 4500-5000 after the development but a lot of this will be standing level with the pitch. Personally I am not worried about that as it is highly unlikely we will ever get gates that high unless we draw Arsenal in the cup.

One thing that did puzzle me was why the strip between our ground and the shops was called a ransom strip.

Even if this includes our current car park entrance we can still get in to the car park via the higher entrance up Dominion Road. This is not therefore a ransom strip but dead land that we will be helping to free up.
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Post by Marc Monitor on Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:50 pm

As I understood it, it was called a 'ransom strip' for the very reason that we are making money off it i.e. anyone wanting to develop the shops needed to buy it off us. Therefore, it was us that were asking for a 'ransom' of any developers - as is the case now (without the contentious language) - rather than anyone demanding a ransom off us for access. I stand to be corrected, of course.

Did the architects (who I have been impressed by during these consultations, by the way) suggest that there could be any possibility of a terraced Bath End last night?
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Post by Jon_BOA on Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:54 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:As I understood it, it was called a 'ransom strip' for the very reason that we are making money off it i.e. anyone wanting to develop the shops needed to buy it off us. Therefore, it was us that were asking for a 'ransom' of any developers - as is the case now (without the contentious language) - rather than anyone demanding a ransom off us for access. I stand to be corrected, of course.

Did the architects (who I have been impressed by during these consultations, by the way) suggest that there could be any possibility of a terraced Bath End last night?

No, there was vague murmurings (that's not a criticism as it was new info dropped on them, I don't imagine any of us come up with brilliant ideas on the hop in front of a crowd), but the issue of the Bath End & Popular Side by the toilets was taken away as something to consider.

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Post by Marc Monitor on Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:04 pm

Ok, well, that's something. For what it's worth, I would have thought there would be enough spoil left over to produce at least 3 or 4 steps which would provide some elevation - probably enough needed. The issue then is the retaining walls at the back having to be heightened and overlooking the back gardens of Highland and Landseer Road. I still can't visualise what is going to change at the Bath End corner of the Popular Bank as it is that much higher with a lot of raised part where people don't tend to stand as far as I can see.

What might be helpful is that there will be the slides on display tomorrow when people can go straight out and see how the ground might be affected.
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Post by OliverH on Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:06 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:As I understood it, it was called a 'ransom strip' for the very reason that we are making money off it i.e. anyone wanting to develop the shops needed to buy it off us. Therefore, it was us that were asking for a 'ransom' of any developers - as is the case now (without the contentious language) - rather than anyone demanding a ransom off us for access. I stand to be corrected, of course.

I think actually we didn't own it, someone else did? So it was we who were being held to ransom? But then Greenacre bought it off whoever owned it.
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Post by OliverH on Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:12 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:Ok, well, that's something. For what it's worth, I would have thought there would be enough spoil left over to produce at least 3 or 4 steps which would provide some elevation - probably enough needed. The issue then is the retaining walls at the back having to be heightened and overlooking the back gardens of Highland and Landseer Road. I still can't visualise what is going to change at the Bath End corner of the Popular Bank as it is that much higher with a lot of raised part where people don't tend to stand as far as I can see.

What might be helpful is that there will be the slides on display tomorrow when people can go straight out and see how the ground might be affected.

We need a 3D model really, it shouldn't be too hard for the architects to produce that.

If the Society were to draw a lesson from this, I think it would be to anticipate the issues that are clearly going to cause controversy and surface them as quickly as possible. It's fair for Marc to note that not many people have attended the consultation meetings. With hindsight, they probably would have got a better turnout if it was clear that we were going to talk about drastic changes to the experience of watching a match at Twerton Park.

I still can't quite figure out if the pitch levelling / loss of the Bath End will become a fait accompli once planning goes in, which it imminent, or whether there is time to reconsider this without delaying the overall development and annoying our partners.
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Post by LB on Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:28 pm

I wasn’t able to get to the meeting yesterday but hope to have a look at the plans before the Slough game tomorrow.

Interesting that Oliver asks the question as to whether the pitch levelling and implications for the Bath end are a fait accompli because that is certainly how it feels. Someone else made the point that this has been to a great extent left out of a lot of the discussions regarding the redevelopment, which seems to have focussed on the new grandstand and the benefits to the community. I think a lot of people will be very concerned that the Bath end will lose the atmosphere that it has at the moment when City are playing that way in the second half.

I suppose it is perhaps the price that has to be paid for the overall scheme which is hopefully going to see the club secure its long term future, hence perhaps Tovid’s comment about ‘compromise’.

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Post by OliverH on Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:58 pm

Yes, quite. I don't believe that there's been a deliberate move to downplay the Bath End issue but the club/society have perhaps left themselves open to that accusation.

Perhaps it is a fait accompli and it really is the only option, but I would appreciate at the very least a full explanation / presentation by the architects, explaining how twerton park is built at the moment and what constraints we're working under. I mean it is an idiosyncratic ground, part of its charm but also a pain for any redevelopment, with or without 3G.

(I won't raise the spectre of a People's Vote on 3G!!)

As someone texted me today to say, it does seem that we are saving the club by destroying a lot of what some of us really love about it - but I guess the children and grandchildren won't know any different.
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Post by tovid on Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:16 pm

OliverH wrote:
Marc Monitor wrote:As I understood it, it was called a 'ransom strip' for the very reason that we are making money off it i.e. anyone wanting to develop the shops needed to buy it off us. Therefore, it was us that were asking for a 'ransom' of any developers - as is the case now (without the contentious language) - rather than anyone demanding a ransom off us for access. I stand to be corrected, of course.

I think actually we didn't own it, someone else did? So it was we who were being held to ransom? But then Greenacre bought it off whoever owned it.
Ok so only a ransom strip in the context of this development. It would not have prevented redevelopment of the high street just not on so grand a scale.
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Post by tovid on Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:26 pm

OliverH wrote:
We need a 3D model really, it shouldn't be too hard for the architects to produce that.
The problem here is that the club is not paying a penny towards the design of the stadium. So the design of that is probably not as well resolved as other parts of the site.

I may be doing a disservice to FWP here because their architect was not present. Their representative was a QS.
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Post by OliverH on Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:29 am

tovid wrote:
OliverH wrote:
We need a 3D model really, it shouldn't be too hard for the architects to produce that.
The problem here is that the club is not paying a penny towards the design of the stadium. So the design of that is probably not as well resolved as other parts of the site.

I may be doing a disservice to FWP here because their architect was not present. Their representative was a QS.

Well if the design is not as well resolved, that's theoretically a good thing from a supporter's perspective because we might have a chance to influence it a bit more - this is what some of us argued at the previous round of meetings, and the presenters seemed receptive to this, leaving me hopeful that we might be able to work up some different options for fans to choose from. Anyway I'll be able to buttonhole them at today's match I suppose.

[Incidentally FWP were responsible for Broadhurst Park, FC United of Manchester's stadium, which is a thing of beauty.]
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Post by Marc Monitor on Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:44 am

I know I am sort of asking you to do my job for me but could you report back the results of your buttonholing? Especially what is flexible post-planning permission?
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Post by Dave on Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:53 am

OliverH wrote:

Broadhurst Park, FC United of Manchester's stadium, which is a thing of beauty.

The completely flat bus shelter end isn't chaff
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Post by Peter Newman on Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:14 pm

I think we may be putting  too much emphasis on what may (or may not) be lost and not enough on what we might gain from the development. I think without change the Club will cease to exist.  Everything about the development must be linked to increasing revenue to ensure the Club can compete at the highest sustainable level.

I doubt any of our current supporters will give up on watching Bath City so we are looking to increase support from new fans who will not be concerned that Twerton Park  has possibly lost any of its  charm. I am sure, also, if you speak to anyone in  that dedicated group of supporters who turn out to help in maintaining the current structure, you would become aware of all the problems  that  come with old-world charm.

I have been supporting Bath City for a long time and have nearly always occupied the same area on the Poplar Side but I might find the new development encourages me to change and make use of the new stand.

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Post by OliverH on Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:06 pm

@Marc - yes no problem

@Palms - fair point!

@Peter - well said, and there is no question at all that change and a redevelopment is needed. I'm always conscious that the ground has changed a lot in the past, and no doubt some people said then that it would never be the same, would lose its charm etc!
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Post by tovid on Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:38 pm

tovid wrote:
Levelling the pitch would have the same effect as putting the current pitch under water. The water would flood across the terraces and the distance it floods will be exactly the amount of terracing lost. So at the corner of the poplar/ bath end if you imagine water 5ft deep on the terrace that is how much will be flat.
I am told that in fact the terrace is higher than the pitch at this corner. If you look today we will lose the terracing back to the line of barriers on the poplar side. This area will be flat from the back of the wall. 

As Peter says this is the price that has to be paid to get more modern facilities that will keep us going for another 50 years.
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Post by OliverH on Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:59 pm

Ok, I managed to speak to two representatives of Stride Treglown, who are the architects who will be dealing with the overall development including the pitch levelling and Bath End (with FWP building the actual grandstand).

The planning permission will likely go in in a couple of months, around Easter time. They plan to include Bath End terracing in the planning, to make sure that we have that option.

That doesn't mean that the club has committed to it, but it does mean that there will still be leeway to make a decision after planning permission has gone in. If I understand correctly, this would be new terracing, i.e. you'd flatten the Bath end and then build on it again. There would be some loss to the corner of the Popular side/Bath End but it would be quite minimal.

There is obviously a cost implication to building new terracing, but it's not huge in the scheme of things. Also they don't expect there to be issues there from the neighbours in terms of sightlines, as the existing back wall of the Bath End is already quite high and probably wouldn't need to be any higher even if we build up the terracing.

I also spoke to the Society chair who said that the Society and redevelopment team has now very much gotten the message from supporters that we want a terraced Bath End.

If Society members really wanted to hammer the point home, we could petition for an EGM and pass a motion stating that retaining a terraced Bath End and minimising the impact on the Popular Side should be the highest priority of the stadium redevelopment. This would provide further clarity for all partners (the planning consultant from Stride Treglown didn't seem fazed by the prospect of us this), as long as it's done quickly. I don't think it's strictly necessary now, but it's an option.
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Post by Bristol Mike on Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:38 pm

When the decision to install a fake pitch was made, were people made aware of the impact it would have in terms of the loss of the bath end and part of the popular side.

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Post by tovid on Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:43 pm

I do not think this is correct. The two highest objectives are to clear the debt and to provide us with a facility that can carry us forward as a going concern.

A terraced Bath end would be nice to have but should not tie the hands of the delivery team.

One issue mentioned at the meeting was the width of the pitch. If the pitch is levelled and the poplar side has a wide flat area as a consequence could a bit of this be used to make the pitch wider?
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Post by OliverH on Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:39 pm

The debt will be cleared by the overall redevelopment, I'm referring just to the changes to Twerton Park itself. You could word it to say "a high priority" etc - just to formally and democratically express a clear preference for a terraced Bath End without necessarily tying the architect's hands. From what they've said today, it's very doable, it's just a case of people making really clear that we want the plans to reflect it (including resources put towards it).

Again, I think the club/Society/architects have now got the message, but this might put a bit more weight behind it. Or equally, it might be overkill!
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Post by Dodgycarpet on Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:49 pm

I spoke today to the chap who originally suggested the scheme to the club and he said that after Thursday's meeting they were formally looking at including terracing for the bath end.
For those that want the ground as it was, I say let's revive the big grass bank behind the Bristol goal - those were the days!

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Post by comrade powell on Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:15 pm

And don't forget the air raid shelters at the Bath End!
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