Bath Cricket Club is being sold a piece of public land at “less than best consideration” so it can build 136 student flats.
It is buying the North Parade Road embankment for £150,000 and will pay Bath and North East Somerset Council a peppercorn rent so it can access the development, which will deliver community benefits valued at £2million.
Plans approved in March 2018 include a student block, an indoor cricket school that will be a hub for disability cricket and a new teaching and learning space.
Council papers say: “In order to unlock this investment the Bath Cricket Club requires the land to enable the development and subsequent investment to proceed.
”A community asset transfer will enable the club to provide the community benefits, whilst the council will be able to impose a rent for a term of 30 years should the benefits not be provided. This will be monitored by the council.
“The Bath Cricket Club will also pay a premium for the lease.
“A lease of the land to the Bath Cricket Club will enable a significant amount of funding to be released to the club, producing improved sporting facilities for current and future members, levering in external funding and delivering sufficient community benefits.”
The club will be contractually obliged to provide community benefits and provide evidence of the activities being delivered.
The papers say: “Benefits include a new indoor cricket school, which will enable a winter training and coaching programme, and act as a hub for disability cricket.
“The extension to the cricket club will also provide new teaching and learning space and separate female changing facilities.
“There will also be further employment opportunities and improvements to the Bath Cricket Club secondary state school cricket programme.
“The investment in the club will also enable it to increase the size of the bursary fund available and improve facilities at their second cricket club site in Lansdown.
“Additional leisure community benefits as a result of the development create a value of around £2million.”
Under the lease, the club will take over management of the embankment, which will save the council £900 a year.
The land has been valued at £150,000.
The decision to approve the transfer of the land at asset at “less than best consideration” was made by councillor Richard Samuel, the cabinet member for resources.
The decision notice says no other viable options would provide these community benefits.
Plans for the development was approved against the advice of officers. Their significant concerns about flooding, the loss of trees and the design of the scheme in the city’s ‘green heart’ were shared by some councillors.
But they were outvoted by planning committee members in support of the club’s bid to diversify its income streams and to reach the next generation of players.
The site is currently occupied by a 128-space car park and an indoor training facility, which will be replaced in the new scheme. The building will be up on stilts so 108 parking bays can be provided at ground level.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter