No. The Rec is a functional floodplain which stores water in times of flood.
In a major flood event (greater than 1 in 20 years) the flood waters would overflow the flood defence bund
The impact of flooding on sports pitches is significant, particularly in four key scenarios, which may occur in isolation or together.
When high amounts of sediment, contaminants (which can contain E. coli and Salmonella) and sharp or heavy debris from the flood water are deposited onto the playing surface.
When a sewer overflow occurs and foul sewage is included in the flood water and this is deposited onto the playing surface.
When the flood water is slow to drain, leading to stagnant conditions for a prolonged period on the playing surface
When flood waters recede quickly – leading to scouring or severe damage of the surfacE
Stitched-hybrid pitch surfaces are designed to be freely draining and are constructed using very sandy soils to drain freely to allow sport to be played.
Any silt or contaminants left by a flood would reduce the infiltration rate of the pitch significantly – leaving it unsuitable for professional sport use until the sediment could be stripped away and a new surface is constructed and given time to establish.
This can take between three to four months minimum during the winter months when the rugby season is in play.
This is unacceptable for Bath Rugby as the main building tenant in terms of losing 35% of the rugby season and the loss of community use.
Furthermore replacing a stitched-hybrid pitch could lead to cost of £300-500k for pitch reconstruction.
To mitigate this risk over the life of the development, the pitch must be raised above the major flood event (plus climate change) level.
This decision is in line with guidance provided by the Environment Agency, Public Health England and Sport England.